Recipe for Health and Friendship
Early in 2007, I was hospitalized for surgery, and was out of work for eight weeks. During that time, I had the opportunity to be a guest at my best friend's home. She assured me I would have to do literally nothing, that she would take care of me on my road to recovery.
During that time, my friend, who, by the way is a superb cook, prepared every breakfast, lunch and dinner, wonderful home-made everything! When the week was over, I found I had lost weight, something I couldn't seem to accomplish left to my own devices. The secret, I discovered, was because of two things, one, she used nothing but fresh items, and secondly, she was not a 'junk' eater.
She invited me back for another week, and this time, I offered to make some of the dishes she remembered from dining at my home. One night, I suggested a recipe, a cabbage dish that my grandmother and mother used to make, and she was all for it. Also, on this second visit, since I was a bit more recovered, she assigned me the task of chopping. And I do mean chopping! I never want to see another stalk of celery, a green or red pepper, onions, garlic, none of it! :) (just kidding)
During this visit, we also shared conversations about things, new things, old things re-visited from a more than 50 year friendship,,,,,I'm sure that also had a lot to do with my road to good health as well. At some point during the day or evening, our thoughts would turn to, what shall we eat tomorrow? and when I went to sleep at night, I prayed to the food gods that I wouldn't be asked to chop something yet again! The prayers went unanswered.
It is now the next morning, and off we went to the store to buy the items I needed for my cabbage dish. When we got home, I took the items and began to show her how my dish was made (it never occurred to me to ask her to chop!). Here, below is the recipe:
1/2 head of cabbage
1 medium onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
First, slice (or chop) all of the cabbage (slicing works better, trust me). Then, fill a pot of water and par-boil the cabbage, just enough to make it slightly limp.
While that is boiling, in a large skillet, melt one stick of butter. Add the sliced onion and brown, stirring occasionally. Once it is browned (not burnt), add enough milk and flour to make a pasty, slightly soupy mixture, then, with a slotted spoon, take the cabbage from the pot and add to the mixture and salt/pepper to taste. Mix it well, and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes. If the cabbage is still a bit crunchy, you can simmer a bit longer. That's it,,,,, and if my memory serves me, the dish was called 'zuprashka', or some such spelling.
This was a favorite dish to have, made usually from the left-over cabbage when stuffed cabbage was made (remember, nothing went to waste in the old days), and a good Lenten meal or side dish.