Things didn’t start well.
I’m referring to yesterday’s great sour cabbage experiment.
Frankly, I didn’t think we’d ever get past the sauce issue. Peter and I were in two camps from the get-go. One of us (who shall remain nameless) wanted tomato, the other opted for a gorgeously rich and traditional meat sauce. But as I hadn’t previously considered details such as ingredients, we found ourselves sans the required ham hocks and smoked sausage and were forced to settle on the tomato version. Which, as it happened, we also didn’t have the ingredients for but running out to No Frills for a can was easier than going to the ham hock purveyor much farther afield. (The ridiculous thing is that normally the cold room is filled to the rafters with jars of homemade tomato sauce but without a bumper tomato season in the past year or so, the shelves are bare. Plus I recently did a serious thinning of old preserves after remembering a scene in Larry’s Party where the mother-in-law dies from eating some home-canned green beans…)
Did I mention we were out of paprika?
I will say this, the eight dollar pickled cabbage head was a joy to work with. Not too salty nor too sour, just the right size, and the leaves were nice and loose, easy to fold and tuck.
Unfortunatley it wasn’t until I’d made about half a dozen that I remembered they’re called cabbage rolls for a reason. Mine looked like cabbage hambugers. Peter said not to worry, they were fine, he preferred a meatier version anyway; we’d simply rename them, he said. We’d call them cabbage packages.
I was just thankful we’d already given up on the Moroccan element.
I rolled the last few into a slightly more recognizable shape, bunged them into a pot—or no, sorry, I carefully layered them between more of my sour cabbage leaves, then slopped on the wretched tomato sauce (I firmly believe it’s all about the sauce; that’s what flavours the meat and the rice, no? And if you’re using a can—a can for pity’s sake—well how on earth can anything good come of it?? But we were in a pinch so I’ll shut up about it…), then Peter poured us each a glass of wine while they cooked and by some miracle my mood improved and the package/rolls actually turned out tasting much better than they looked.
Much, much better.
In fact, I’m suggesting you don’t look at them too long…
Okay, that’s probably long enough.