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Home for the Holidays
There isn’t a Christmas that goes by that I don’t remember that wonderful time in my college life when friends of mine would let me hitch a ride with their family to take me home to the city for the Holidays. They’ve often lived in proximity to the city, such as Connecticut, Long Island or New Jersey, but not in the city proper. Even then, I knew it was quite the gesture, as navigating the city with a car during the season was no easy task. I was always so grateful.
Eventually, make it home for Christmas Dinner
After the first couple of years, we all smartened up, and in lieu of the trip all the way home, I was usually invited by the friend’s family (who was fortunate enough to have me tag along in the car) to stay with them for a night or two, before sticking me on a train to make it home for Christmas Dinner. I preferred this jaunt over the previous. I always lived in tight quarters in the city and my family, though not poor, certainly were not rich. So to stay at a house with large space, and usually, my own room in which to sleep, even for just a day or two, was always such a treat.
A stop in Connecticut
One of my favorite stops, for more reasons than just the hospitality, was at one of my college girlfriend’s house in a town in Connecticut. Where she lived was the perfect spot, as it was halfway from school and home. She had a grandmother that lived not too far from them that would come over and cook for the family every so often. They affectionately called her “Grammy”, and she liked to be referred to as such, even by me.
Her Polish Grammy always made a cabbage dish
Grammy was of Polish descent, and during one of my stays, she whipped up a cabbage dish for us that still stays with me until this day. She further told me that cabbage was a good luck vegetable in most Eastern European countries, especially Poland, and that it should be eaten during the Holidays. Most of all during Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners. I’ve visited my share of Polish restaurants here in the city, and have tried many Martha Stewart recipes (who is also of Polish ancestry) but never able to replicate Grammy’s dish.
That girlfriend has been an “ex” for many years now, but I still have fond memories of that family. During this time of the year, I always take time to think about all the beautiful people that have crossed my path. One of them being “Grammy”.
As an homage to her, here is Dish Our Town’s New Year’s Day Cabbage Recipe for good luck:
- Core and slice cabbage.
- Chop onion.
- Cut bacon strips into thirds.
- Over medium heat, add olive oil to a medium-sized pot.
- When the oil is hot enough, add half of the bacon and cook until crisp (5-7 minutes).
- Add cabbage.
- Add onion.
- Add sugar.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir until cabbage for 5-10 minutes depending on how crisp you want the cabbage.
- Before serving sprinkle remaining bacon on top.
This is a quick and easy recipe. Cabbage on New Year’s Day or Eve makes for a great side dish, or a humble meal.
Pairs very well with all white sparkling wines ranging from Cava to Champagne. We prefer Prosecco in our household, especially when not so dry, it is perfect with New Year’s cabbage.
Where to have Polish Cabbage in New York City:
This part of the East Village was once the enclave for Ukrainian and Polish cuisine. The offerings aren’t as prominent as they once were, but there are old standards such as, http://www.littlepolandnyc.com/ which still exist and dole out some very authentic dishes. You’ll find some sort of cabbage here any day of the week.
Where to have Polish Cabbage in the world:
Warsaw seems to be having a moment. It is certainly one destination that we hope to visit soon. There is one place that seems to make everyone’s list as a good place to have authentic Polish Food and it’s a chain restaurant (of all places) named, http://www.zapiecek.eu/menu_eng.html
Pin it to your favorite recipe board!