Day 92 Filled Cabbage

Today I am starting my fourth month of cooking and writing about the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. Even I am amazed I’ve kept it going for over 90 days straight. I decided to celebrate with an unusual and probably time-consuming recipe for Filled Cabbage contributed by Mrs. E. Mangold. And no this is not an April Fool’s Joke. This is a real recipe.

I started by removing a few leaves from my cabbage to use later as the covering. I cut a bit off the “bottom” of the cabbage to let it sit flat while it was in the pot and while I was working to cut out the centre. Creating the bowl out of a cabbage was a challenge. Be very careful as you get started. It does get easier. Once I had created a cabbage bowl, I chopped up the cabbage I had removed. I put the lard and butter in a big pot and put the heat on low to melt it all. I put the cabbage bowl in the pot and surrounded it with the chopped cabbage.

Next I made the filling.  I used regular white bread (about 5 slices) and cut it up and soaked it in around 1 cup of warm milk. I chopped the onion and let it cook in the butter. I beat the eggs and added them along with the onion to the milk and bread mixture. Finally I added some parsley, salt, pepper, and caraway seed (maybe a teaspoon). I poured the filling in the “bowl” of the cabbage and covered the top with two cabbage leaves. I put about 3 cups of water into the pot and turned the stove burner to medium. I wasn’t sure how long to cook the cabbage. The house began to smell of cabbage and I kept checking for tenderness and burning. I let it cook for one hour. The next issue was finding a way to get it out of the pot and figure out how it was served.

Based on the Generations website and the 1911 census, I think Mrs. E. Mangold might be Elizabeth Kehr who was married to John. Normally that would make her Mrs. J. Mangold but in the 1911 census Elizabeth Mangold is listed as the head of the household and next to her name is L. S. instead of M for married or W for widowed. The rest of the family are listed as S for single. What does L. S. mean? A friend has suggested it might mean Living Single but she did some research for me and found out it means Legally Separated. Elizabeth was born in Germany in 1861 but emigrated to Canada in 1885. Living at 144 Queen St. North are Elizabeth, daughters Catherine (25), Lydia (16) and Lizzie (14) and son Emil (19). They are all listed as German Lutheran. The three oldest children are working as shoemakers in factories.

I took the stuffed cabbage bowl out of the pot using a slotted spoon. I placed the cabbage on a plate and surrounded it with the chopped cabbage. I removed the leaf cover from the top of the “bowl” and cut a slice much like cutting into a cake. I put my messy slice on a plate and put some of the chopped cabbage on it. It was almost scary to take the first bite. I just didn’t know what to expect. I like cabbage but truly it did not look appetizing.

What a surprise! The filling had a hint of caraway but not too much. It was very good. The cabbage was mild, tender and delicious. This is a great dish to serve to anyone who likes both bread stuffing and cabbage. A modern cook can really experiment with this recipe — use different bread, different soaking liquid and different seasonings to create something quite unusual. I will make this again but reduce the liquid in the filling and when cooking the cabbage.

I keep trying to picture the Mangold family eating Filled Cabbage. It certainly has a German feel to it and it would be very inexpensive and filling. What do they serve with it? Did I make it correctly? I have wanted to talk with many of the women who contributed recipes. Sometimes it is because the woman seems interesting. Other times I have questions about her recipe. Today I want to talk to Elizabeth Kehr Mangold about her life and her recipe for Filled Cabbage.

This as turned out to be a great recipe to launch another three months with the Berlin Cook Book as I continue to be interested in the contributors and their recipes.

1 medium sized cabbage, cut out heart and hollow, making it like a bowl about 3/4 inch thick, put in heaping tablespoonful of butter and lard mixed into a pot, set in the cabbage head and put in the filling; cut fine the inside part and put around, cover it with some clean cabbage leaves, pour on and keeping adding a little water to keep from burning, cover up tight and steam till cabbage is soft.
For Filling
About 1/4 loaf bread cut fine and soaked in warm milk, 1 large onion stewed in about 1/2 cup butter, mix well and add 3 eggs, salt and pepper to taste, flavor with parsley and caraway seed.

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