There is something about very cold weather that gives one an enormous appetite. Most of us find ourselves beginning to crave rich steaming stews and hot apple pies and all kinds of delicious warming dishes; and because we are all a great deal luckier than we realize, we usually get what we want — or near enough.
But Charlie Bucket never got what he wanted because the family couldn’t afford it, and as the cold weather went on and on, he became ravenously and desperately hungry.
Both bars of chocolate, the birthday one and the one Grandpa Joe had bought, had long since been nibbled away, and all he got now were those thin, cabbagy meals three times a day.
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
I’m a ‘steamed broccolini with a dab of butter and a dash of salt’ kind
A ‘grilled mushrooms with a hint of garlic’ kind of person.
Heck, I’ll even do the infamous brussel sprouts, if they’re sliced and
seared. Granted, I didn’t have them shoveled down my throat as a kid, so our
relationship started out of curiosity, not force.
But cabbage. Cabbage and I, we stay on opposite sides of the room. From
time to time, we’ll meet when I have a taste for sauerkraut and sausage. But
for the most of it, avoidance is key.
In all fairness, it’s not cabbage’s poor fault. It’s all self inflicted
and from none other than cabbage soup.
High school years are pretty well blocked in my memory. There’s,
fortunately, not much that I can recall. But they were painful years, where
kids skinnier than myself would mercilessly tease about my baby fat, although
it was just that. Baby fat, that eventually melted off during uni. The fact I
had matured faster didn’t help.
‘You’ve got tumors on your chest’ was one of their many war cries.
So, like many self-conscious teens, I turned to diets in a desperate
attempt to loose what triggered the teasing.
Counting calories. Liver cleansing diet. And the almighty, cabbage soup
I only lasted two days tops on that diet. That gnawing emptiness, even
after your sixth bowl, finally wears you down, especially as an always-on-the-go kid.
At least you can eat as much soup as you like on the diet. I could only
imagine being Charlie. His thin watery cabbage soup would have consisted of
very little; water, cabbage, maybe some onion, salt and pepper. And only three
bowls of it a day.
Fortunately you can add a whole lot more ingredients to make it more
To the basic mix of one chopped cabbage, a finely chopped onion, ~ 2
litres of water, salt and pepper, add in
3 diced carrots,
6 slices of bacon (or more if you insist)
3 bay leaves
1 crushed clove of garlic
a few sprigs of thyme
1 chopped celery
and a few bits of fresh parsley.
Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. Skim off fat as you go.
Recipe based from Book of Household Management by Mrs Beeton (published 1861) and can be found on the gutenberg.org website.