Monday, January 9, 2012

Steam and Bake

January 8, 2012

Classify this under first world problems.

Walter and I like cabbage, both as slaw and steamed.  With the right kind of prep, we could probably eat a whole head of cabbage over a few meals if we made it into slaw.  But.  Those store-bought bags of shredded cabbage with both purple and green varieties and some bits of carrot added for color are a lot easier than starting from scratch with a head of cabbage.

So, usually when we have a head of cabbage we slice and steam it.  Except.

There is no way we can eat a whole head of steamed cabbage.  Even on our healthiest days.  So, I usually take out my biggest chopper, slice it, steam half, and return the other half to the refrigerator to mildew until I can lug it out to the compost pile.  Not that I intend this.  It just happens every time.  I'm usually not in the mood for steamed cabbage two nights in a row.  Somehow, the half a head gets pushed to the side and forgotten.  It wouldn't be that hard to cook it all at once, but I could never figure out a way to use leftover cabbage (and perhaps I am always a little too pleased with myself for cooking with cabbage in the first place, and as a side note, that part of the joy of cooking cabbage is that it allows me to call to mind the Cosby Show episode when Clair Huxtable was turning 46 and the kids put on a show that featured among other things the price of a head of cabbage at various points in her life).  Thus I keep buying cabbage, and thus I keep throwing half of it away.

To crack this puzzle, I finally consulted the inestimable James Beard's American Cookery and found a very cool recipe that completely eliminates the problem of what to do if you can't eat a whole cabbage in one sitting.  Ladies Cabbage.

"Ladies cabbage must have been a very fashionable dish, for it appears in recipes by everyone from Mrs. Harland to Mrs. Rorer.  Strange how certain dishes have a vogue for years and years and suddenly disappear.  No one hears of ladies cabbage nowadays."

Let's just suffice it to say that if you add enough butter, cream, and eggs to chopped up, leftover cabbage, you will never worry about buying more cabbage than you can eat.  You might even decide two heads are better than one. 


  1. Thanks for leading me to my all time favorite quote from a cookbook that would not - in my mind - exactly qualify as a ringing endorsement:

    "This dish resembles cauliflower and is very digestible."

  2. so, when i come a visit, do we HAVE to eat cabbage? *sigh* i do like it in kimchi, but i don't care what my southern upbringing says, i do not like it. oh, i also don't like okra - yes, my mother LOVES it, nor do i enjoy black-eyed peas. i DO love hush puppies, corn bread, and a good piece of ham. oh, and the word y'all. :)