7 Habits of Weight Loss

Cabbage

Description.—The common white garden cabbage is one of the oldest of cultivated vegetables. A variety of the plant known as red cabbage was the delight of ancient gourmands more than eighteen centuries ago. The Egyptians adored it, erected altars to it, and made it the first dish at their repasts. In this they were imitated by the Greeks and Romans.

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, considered the cabbage one of the most valuable of remedies, and often prescribed a dish of boiled cabbage to be eaten with salt for patients suffering with violent colic. Erasistratus looked upon it as a sovereign remedy against paralysis, while Cato in his writings affirmed it to be a panacea for all diseases, and believed the use the Romans made of it to have been the means whereby they were able, during six hundred years, to do without the assistance of physicians, whom they had expelled from their territory. The learned philosopher, Pythagoras, composed books in which he lauded its wonderful virtues.

The Germans are so fond of cabbage that it enters into the composition of a majority of their culinary products. The cabbage was first raised in England about 1640, by Sir Anthony Ashley. That this epoch, important to the English horticultural and culinary world, may never be forgotten, a cabbage is represented upon Sir Anthony's monument.

The nutritive value of the cabbage is not high, nearly ninety per cent being water; but it forms an agreeable variety in the list of vegetable foods, and is said to possess marked antiscorbutic virtue. It is, however, difficult of digestion, and therefore not suited to weak stomachs. It would be impossible to sustain life for a lengthened period upon cabbage, since to supply the body with sufficient food elements, the quantity would exceed the rate of digestion and the capacity of the stomach.

M. Chevreul, a French scientist, has ascertained that the peculiar odor given off during the boiling of cabbage is due to the disengagement of sulphureted hydrogen. Cabbage is said to be more easily digested raw than cooked.

Preparation and Cooking.—A good cabbage should have a well-developed, firm head, with fresh, crisp leaves, free from worm-holes and decayed portions. To prepare for cooking, stalk, shake well to free from dirt, and if there are any signs of insects, lay in cold salted water for an hour or so to drive them out. Rinse away the salt water, and if to be boiled, drop into a small quantity of boiling water. Cover closely and boil vigorously until tender. If cooked slowly, it will be watery and stringy, while overdone cabbage is especially insipid and flavorless. If too much water has been used, remove the cover, that evaporation may go on more rapidly; if too little, replenish with boiling water. Cabbage should be cooked in a porcelain-lined or granite-ware sauce pan or a very clean iron kettle. Cabbage may also be steamed, but care must be taken to have the process as rapid as possible. Fresh young cabbage will cook in about one hour; old cabbage requires from two to three hours.

RECIPES.

Baked Cabbage.—Prepare and chop a firm head of young white cabbage, boil until tender, drain, and set aside until nearly cold. Then add two well-beaten eggs, salt to taste, and a half cup of thin cream or rich milk. Mix and bake in a pudding dish until lightly browned.

Boiled Cabbage.—Carefully clean a nice head of cabbage, divide into halves, and with a sharp knife slice very thin, cutting from the center of the head outward. Put into boiling water, cover closely, and cook rapidly until tender; then turn into a colander and drain, pressing gently with the back of a plate. Return to the kettle, add salt to taste, and sufficient sweet cream to moisten well, heat through if at all cooled, dish, and serve at once. If preferred, the cream may be omitted, and the cabbage served with tomato sauce or lemon juice as a dressing.

Cabbage and Tomatoes.—Boil finely chopped cabbage in as little water as possible. When tender, add half the quantity of hot stewed tomatoes, boil together for a few minutes, being careful to avoid burning, season with salt if desired, and serve. If preferred, a little sweet cream may be added just before serving.

Cabbage Celery.—A firm, crisp head of cabbage cut in slices half an inch or an inch thick, and then again into pieces four or five inches long and two or three inches wide, makes a quite appetizing substitute for celery.

Cabbage Hash.—Chop fine, equal parts of cold boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage, and season with salt. To each quart of the mixture add one half or three fourths of a cup of thin cream; mix well and boil till well heated.

Chopped Cabbage or Cabbage Salad.—Take one pint of finely chopped cabbage; pour over it a dressing made of three tablespoonfuls of lemon juice, two tablespoonfuls of sugar, and a half cup of whipped cream, thoroughly beaten together in the order named; or serve with sugar and diluted lemon juice.

Mashed Cabbage.—Cut a fine head of cabbage into quarters, and cook until tender. A half hour before it is done, drop in three good-sized potatoes. When done, take all up in a colander together, press out the water, and mash very fine. Season with cream, and salt if desired.

Stewed Cabbage. Chop nice cabbage quite fine, and put it into boiling water, letting it boil twenty minutes. Turn into a colander and drain thoroughly; return to the kettle, cover with milk, and let it boil till perfectly tender; season with salt and cream to taste. The beaten yolk of an egg, stirred in with the cream, is considered an improvement by some.

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