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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fortunate Food

  An odd title, don't you think? Perhaps a better one would be "Food for the New Year."  Every year's end, I start thinking about various cultures traditions for ensuring good luck in the new year.  Of course the first one which pops into my head is the southern tradition of eating collards and hoppin john.  I don't know why...perhaps it is because although I love most legumes...about the only one I can't abide is....black eyed peas.  Their earthy taste puts me off, which always amuses me because I love beets, which also have an earthy taste.  In addition, of all the various greens, collards are my second to least favorite, kale being the other....for the same reason, unless you cook them to death, they tend to be a bit tough.

You might also be wondering why I don't have a photo to start this off....well...its because the photo I took wasn't very appealing.  You see, my husband, who at one point was a vegetarian, adores sausage.  Sausage of all sorts....and that was the one thing which could sway him to eat animal protein when I was dating him.  That was when we lived in Connecticut...now, we live in western Ohio....and it is debatable as to whether or not we are southern Ohio or not... This particular part of terra firma has its roots planted deeply in Germany....which is why names like Huels, Schellenbarger, Miller, Schmiedebusch, and others are common.  Thus, my dear husband is in brat and wurst heaven.  The next town over has a pretty good little grocery store which has great meats....and Carlos discovered their home-made sausages...and brought home brats.

These are mild pork sausages.  Today he was getting ready to go to the store and he asked if I wanted anything....I told him to pick up some cabbage or short of that, sauerkraut.  He had a strange look on his face and he said "the butcher asked if I needed sauerkraut with it and told me where it was, just below the meat case."  I laughed,  you see the German tradition is to eat pork and kraut, or pork and cabbage...hence the brats.  I would have preferred to braise the brats in beer and cook it with red cabbage.

Since Carlos has been doing a lot of the grocery shopping as I often hurt too badly when walking on hard surfaces for any length of time, he made the choice.  He came in and looked at me and said "You wouldn't believe it!  There was a lady who was filling a huge tub with packages of sauerkraut and people were emptying it as fast as she could fill it up."  Evidently, he didn't pay any attention to the cultural lecture I gave him before shipping him out the door.

I cooked them with caramelized onions, apple, and the kraut...I didn't want to waste a beer on it...all we had was the really good stuff, and if I'm cooking, well, usually a commercial beer will do.  This meal, however, is classified as what I call a "white meal,"  one without greens and one which well, isn't very appetizing to look at, at least not in my book.  I think of all of my northern European ancestors who ate "white meals" as potatoes, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables were what helped get them through the long winters.

One of the other memories I have is of the Cubans at the Cuban club devouring 12 seeded red grapes as fast as they could before the clock finished striking midnight, the Hispanic method of ensuring prosperity in the new year.  It stayed with me because of the contrast of the elegantly dressed ladies cramming the grapes in their mouths and gobbling them as fast as they could...

Of course, I had to laugh...Carlos bought shrimp and champagne, and a cherry pie for me.....but, he has sat down in the magic chair...a leather arm chair...and promptly fell asleep.  So, I'm here with you while he sleeps, and I'll shortly retire, long before the stroke of midnight.  I'll worry a bit about my daughter who is out with friends, and then fall asleep...hoping that this coming year will bring health, prosperity, and peace for all.

3 comments:

Sherrie Spangler said...

Happy New Year to you! Having grown up in Pittsburgh, I know how good a good brat is, especially with kraut! The food I prefer for bringing good luck in the new year is chocolate.

Del said...

And I had a regular pizza: sausage/mushroom/olive/tom sauce with extra cheese. The only one all year. It was fabulous, but the salt is already doing me in and I am drinking gallons of water which will lead to... Oh, well, the pizza was worth it. Sending good thoughs - as always.
Love, Del-at-home

Michigoose said...

Ah! Yum to both! Del, that pizza sounds wonderful. I made a whole wheat pizza from scratch the other day because I was craving a whole wheat crust like the ones I remember from college days. Kalamazoo, Michigan is home to Bilbo's Pizza, then as now, although more expensive than Dominos, it was a preferred hangout for Western Michigan University (my UG alma mater) and Kalamazoo College students. Making my own sauce and dough helps cut down somewhat on sodium, but you can't get away from it with cheese and sausage! Drink lots (of water). :)