There are a few similarities between Polish and German foods, and the inclusion of cabbage in the diet is one of them. While I grew up with cabbage being a staple in my Polish-American diet, I wasn’t too fond of this nutrient-rich vegetable until my adult years. Now, the only thing stopping me from eating a ton is my body’s reaction to it as it winds its way through the digestive tract. [Yes, I’ve tried throwing in some cumin or caraway seeds to help, despite protests from my taste buds, all for naught.]
Cabbage is closely related to vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and, of course, brussel sprouts. It is a great source of fiber, as well as being full of nutrients, such as Vitamins C and K, Magnesium, Folate, and Calcium, to name a few. Some claim it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities, particularly red cabbage. It has been cultivated in Europe and Asia for thousands of years. Despite being as old as can be, it is tricky to grow–and I can attest to that! We planted a terrific looking cabbage seedling. Within a month, it became a bug infested, nutrient deprived, fungus filled mess of a plant. I’m not sure I’ll repeat the experiment any time soon.
In America, it seems as though coleslaw to be the no 1. cabbage dish. (Is there a no. 2?) This particular German cabbage salad that I made for dinner today is a different take on mayonnaise-infused American coleslaw. It is so versatile that it can be eaten warm or cold. The delightful part of this dish is the addition of bacon.
I recommend using a knife to prepare slices of cabbage, rather than a grater. Here, I was in a rush and made slices that were technically too thick, though it actually turned out to be a positive thing in the end.
The cabbage is parboiled and then sprinkled with some vinegar, along with salt and pepper to taste. Adding a little bit of sugar helps balance out the flavors. But it’s the final addition of bacon (and bacon drippings) that makes this a winner!