I can no longer drink vinegar direct from the bottle

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When I was a kid, my mother would make this simple cabbage and noodle dish with any leftover ham. And I really liked it. But when I was twelve I stopped eating meat. And then I asked for the cabbage and noodle dish. “But you don’t eat ham anymore,” she said. “Well, make it without the ham.” She wasn’t sure it would work, but she made it anyways. And it was good.

When I moved out to Portland, I didn’t know how to cook, I no longer had roommates who cooked, and I was poor and unemployed. So I asked my mother for the recipe, and it became a staple. It is not a complicated recipe, and I still make it fairly often. It’s still one of my favorite meals.

You heat up some oil (lately I’ve been adding some crushed pepper flakes, because I have lately been all about the crushed pepper flakes) and let maybe half an onion, all chopped up, cook for a while. Meanwhile you cut up a head of cabbage into roughly fig-newton-sized pieces. Don’t sweat the size. Once the onions are cooked a bit, add the cabbage (and I guess the leftover ham, cubed, if you want to play that way) and cover. You might want to add a splash of water to create some steam. Meanwhile, in another pot, boil up a bag of egg noodles. Like a pound per head of cabbage. Once the cabbage is soft enough, once the pasta is soft enough, add the pasta to the cabbage. Serve, topped with cheap parmesan sprinkle cheese and imitation balsamic vinegar. (Note: It must be cheap stuff. It does not work with fancy parmesans.)

I made some of this last night, and it was as good as it always is, and I, uh, accidentally ate all of it. A whole cabbage head and a whole pound of noodles. Sigh. Disgusting, but this stuff is very addictive. To me. Because I am a freak. Anyway it reheats well and usually I can make it spread out over a few days.

I have tried coming up with some sort of ham-substitute, to add a little salty kick, but I am no good with tofu and nothing has worked out yet. Recommendations for this are requested, but please keep it utterly simple.

And yes, I had to stop drinking swigs of vinegar from the bottle when I was about 18. Oh well!

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3 Responses to “I can no longer drink vinegar direct from the bottle”

  1. Jaq Says:

    I wonder how sautéed cubes of portobello or crimini with a little liquid smoke and salt would be for ham simulation?

  2. boxofbirds Says:

    Mushrooms are a great idea. Sauté them first and let them brown up (don’t add salt until later).

    You could also add Bacon Salt! http://www.baconsalt.com. 😉

  3. Jaq Says:

    OMG! Our meat guy was talking about how the Bacon Salt guys wanted him to sell their stuff – he was non-plussed. “but…we sell actual bacon! And, vegetarians are not in my customer base!”

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