It’s never too early to let the shorter days lead one into getting ready for Yule, and this is the time for red cabbage, pickled. My German ancestors did weird things with it, with caraway and lots of bacon fat, and there’s no need to talk about that, because the Danish family I married into has a better idea: finely grated, with butter and red currant jelly. Oh, yes! However, even though I can make it taste the Danish way, perfect for roast duck or for open faced sandwiches, and even though I love the Danish way, I can’t exactly do it the Danish way. Here’s what I mean:
Ah, yes, well it starts slow and pretty…
If you think that looks like fun, you’re right. That’s because the camera doesn’t show this:
Gosh, nowhere to even stand. So, I swept that up right away before it stained the floor (success!), and pretty soon I had all the bits that wouldn’t grate, so I got out that knife from Brazil, that we got three decades ago, and that knife from England, that I got last winter, urged them to merge in a happy union, and I was off!
Of course, I forgot the melted butter, so I had to empty it all into a big bowl (and, yeah, you got it, sweep again), but then I was finally all together, with my mind and my body and my enthusiasm all in the same place, and within five minutes it was all sautéed, its bulk reduced by half, I added sugar, vinegar, and red currant jelly, stirred and stirred with a big wooden spoon, and put the lid on it to wait. Four hours later, after adjusting the vinegar three times (I swear, vinegar isn’t what it used to be), I had four quarts of this…
Don’t worry about the white stuff. That’s the vinegar steaming off that does that. When It’s cool, into the freezer it’ll go, in meal-sized packs. Yeah, it’s best if one does all this on Christmas, but the sweeping? I tell ya! It’s best to do that the messy way when one’s Sweetie is out of town at a conference. And so, there you go: Jul, Day 1. Now I have to keep my eye out for a duck.