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Cabbage and Noodles|
She called it cabbage and noodles.
I imagine sometime back in Hungarian Jewish history it had another name that probably ended with a syllable rhyming with UCH or ASH. Noodlecabashuch, or something like that.
We just knew it as Mom’s cabbage and noodles and it was worth running home from school for.
It was a simple concoction really, but then aren’t most dishes that truly tantalize children simple things; spaghetti marinara, pizza, PB&J, the inside of a slice of Wonderbread de-crusted and rolled into a tight little dough ball, then dipped in milk.
These were the early days of my childhood, when Mom still loved to cook the dishes she’d grown up with and then transformed into what she referred to as “The Reader’s Digest” version. The noodle dish might have been a 3 hour extravaganza in moms’ school days but with three over-active kids and husband who always seemed to be ravenous, she’d learned to improvise.
“Shana Madela! Listen and Learn,” she would say popping a Kosher macaroon into my mouth so I’d be quiet. “You cook the cabbage till its nice and soft, boil the noodles, toss them together with salt, pepper and margarine and dinner’s ready as soon as the margarine is melted.”
I would sit mesmerized by the lesson, but in truth hadn’t absorbed a single thing she’d said. I was too busy waiting for her to stop talking so we could eat. Thankfully it never took very long.
She could start slicing the cabbage while we were watching “Happy Days” and be done by the time “Fonzi” got the girl, which as anyone who’s ever watched the show can attest, didn’t take long.
I’ve been cooking professionally for over 12 years now, but I’ve never come close to capturing the simple beauty of this dish even when I’ve tried to re-create it exactly as I remember her making it right down to the generic margarine.
Maybe that’s because love was the secret sauce that bound it together. If I could go back in time I would have savored the flavor of those noodles a little longer. How was I to know that childhood and my mother’s life would be so fleeting?
1 package Jewish Style Egg Noodles.
1 small head of cabbage red or green is fine.
1 stick of margarine
Slice the cabbage into fine shreds like as if you’re making Cole-slaw.
All material © copyright 2001-3, Rossi
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