This was not the first time I made stuffed cabbage, a homey dish I have known all my life. But it was my first attempt at doing it Slovenian-style, from a vintage ethnic cookbook called Woman's Glory: The Kitchen.
I came up with a combination of three recipes I found in that yellowing book. They were called by various names, like sarma and cabbage bundles. Variations on a theme, but my own adaptation, for the first Slovenian Dinner in my back-to-my-roots cooking project.
And it was amazing, the way my Berkeley kitchen was suddenly transformed into my grandma's. In the air, the smell of Cleveland's East Side in the 1950s. The scent of Central Europe. Such a mysterious alchemy, from a recipe that seemed so familiar, so unremarkable. Maybe it was the paprika.
I liked those cabbage rolls. So did my husband. It's a good thing, since we were eating them for days afterward.
Even my mother liked it. Just like her mother's, she said. The recipe needs some work. It needs more onion and garlic. More paprika. Next time, I may adopt the suggestion of one of those recipes, to cook the cabbage rolls on a bed of sauerkraut.
But it's on the way. Bound for Glory.
If you would like to see the recipe, go here.
Causes Blair Kilpatrick Supports
Louisiana Folk Roots, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Habitat for Humanity/Musician's Village New Orleans, Doctors Without Borders