Cabbage rolls are an ethnic dish. Very ethnic. Just the name evokes numerous cliches, and even sounds funny because of the “k” sound (which, according to Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, all funny words contain). To smell them is to know, immediately, what the word ethnic really means.
My mother used to make them, and we loved to eat them. A cabbage roll, if you’re not familiar, is ground beef, ground pork, and rice mixed together, spiced up a bit, balled, and rolled inside a leaf of cabbage. Dozens of these are stacked up in a roaster, and then more cabbage and tomato juice is piled on top. These are cooked together, and the result is both an olfactory and culinary delight.
I’ve started making them myself. I’m shocked how easy it is to make a small batch–about 40 minutes of preparation, including the clean up. The crock pot has been going all night, and the house reeks.
Tomorrow I’ll tell the story of how cabbage rolls damn near killed my father, and started a war.