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underrated cabbage

I feel my roots tug at my limbs like hungry children rising from an empty table. I feel it when I dig my own potatoes out of the ground. I feel it when I knife a cabbage into quarters. I feel it when every meal begins with the humble familiar aroma of sauteing onions. I remember reading somewhere a condemnation of the smell of cabbage and onions being the smell of poverty.

 

To me it's like raw memory. I am the culmination of all the people who came before me in my family and I have their taste in my veins, their scent memories in my cells, their hollering in my head. I love the taste of butter and soil, the smell of damp compost, and the noise of chickens outside my door.

 

I remember the afternoon when I realized that my grandfather had the soul of a peasant too. I remember drinking wine with him while he read Homer to me and we inhaled the smell of evening coming on. We are simple in our love for books, food, and drink. Perhaps to our detriment.

 

Then let it be to our detriment.

 

I've had this idea in my mind for a couple of days. Poorhouse pies. It kept creeping into my mind. Poorhouse pies. The kind of food that you can make for cheap and send with your man to the mines or the fields for later. The kind of food that is rustic and simple but nourishing. Cabbage has 34 mg of calcium per cup. It has 33 mg of vitamin C which isn't bad when you consider that an orange has 54. Cabbage also has 160 mg of potassium. There's good reason why this vegetable has been valued for so long, by common people if not restauranteurs.

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Taken on November 6, 2008