Well, here I am writing about food again. It came to my mind because of my tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, which is a Pennsylvania tradition.
Sauerkraut, directly translated “sour cabbage” has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria,. Fermented food has a long history in many cultures with sauerkraut being the most instance of traditional cabbage dishes. The Roman writers Cato and Columelia mentioned preserving cabbage and turnips in salt.
In Germany it is believed that eating sauerkraut will bring blessings and wealth for the new year. Before the meal, those seated at the table wish each other as much goodness and money as the number of shreds of cabbage in the pot. The pig has long been the symbol of good luck and well-being. Because of this, many people believe that eating a meal with pork will bring luck in the new year. Pennsylvania was known by its many settlers but especially the German settlers who brought this “funny” tradition to its land.
Before frozen foods, refrigeration and cheap transport from warmer areas became readily available in northern and Central Europe, sauerkraut, like other preserved foods, provided a source of nutrients during the winter. James Ccook always took a store of sauerkraut on his sea voyages since experience had taught him it prevented scurvy.
I never ate a black-eyed pea although I have made soup with ham hocks. I noticed a German fast-food restaurant on the corner of Emery Rd. and Dry Gap Rd. and I can’t wait to try it out. We went past it on a Sunday but they were closed. They are open all the other days from eleven a.m. till nine p.m. Always love to try out new eating establishments. Makes me really hungry for a plump hot dog covered with sauerkraut. Many delicious dishes can be made involving sauerkraut. I’m including one that is perfect for a cold, wintry day.
SAUERKRAUT SOUP WITH SAUSAGE
1 pound sausage, such as kielbasa
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup hard cider (optional)
1 (32 oz.) jar sauerkraut, drained and rinsed briefly.
8 cups canned, low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup peeled and cubed potatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat then add diced sausage. Cook until caramelized and the fat is rendered, about 4-6 minutes. Add onions and celery, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add sauerkraut, broth, potatoes, thyme and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes. Enjoy!
Thought for the day: How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. William Shakespeare
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