Along with last week’s post on escalloped salmon, I discovered this elegant, easy minced cabbage in Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book, which was originally published in 1880 by Washburn-Crosby Co. Its successor General Mills reprinted this worthy account in the twentieth century. This latter company, however, is better known for publishing recipe books under the pseudonym Betty Crocker, who, unlike our illustrious 19th century writer Miss Parloa, never existed.
In 1921, before this transfer of title, Washburn-Crosby was first to use the name “Betty Crocker”. At that time they were inundated with 30,000 entries in a contest promoting Gold Medal flour; many of these participants asked questions on baking. Washburn-Crosby discerned that the replies would promote more influence if signed by a woman; thus, the inspiration for this sham, which was derived from the surname of a retired company director.1
General Mills continued in this tradition, after it was created in 1929, when it merged Washburn-Crosby with 26 other U.S. flour mills.2 This, then the world’s largest flour mill, initially portrayed this fictitious authority as a gray-haired home-maker in 1936; her image was frequently revised throughout the last century, as Betty Crocker was used as a major brand name for their various products.3
It is jarring when we learn the falsehood of long accepted traditions, like the authenticity of this established person, for truth is fundamental to our stability. We implicitly search for verity in all things, cooking included. Rejoicing occurs when a good source for teaching the basics is found, such as that required for food preparation and the execution of life present in my writings. Indeed, the trust generated here grows into a comprehensive application upon many areas of our existence.
My prayer is that we will come to rely on my receipts, preparing them with the ease with which they are intended. They may look lengthy at times, this is because I spell out shortcuts with care, for my blog is like going to cooking school. Quickly we learn my simple, creative techniques; thus, we are able to adeptly use these recipes.
This effortless minced cabbage comes with the height of freedom. Enjoy!
- James Trager, The Food Chronology (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1995), p. 434.
- Ibid., p. 456.
- Ibid., p. 488.
1880’s Minced Cabbage Yields: 4 servings. Total prep time: 30 min/ active prep time: 10 min/ cooking time: 20 min. This is adapted from a recipe in Miss Parloa’s Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book, (Boston: Estes and Laurait, 1880), reprinted by General Mills in the 20th century.
Note: this is best when made ahead and reheated just before serving.
1 1/2 lb green cabbage
2 tbsp oil (Coconut oil is ideal for quality and flavor here; avocado oil is also good; olive oil is carcinogenic when heated to high temperatures.)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt, or to taste (Real Salt is important for optimum health; available in health section at local supermarket.)
- Chop cabbage either by hand or, more quickly, by using the slicing attachment to a food processor. If using a food processor, cut cabbage in slices that will fit in its feeder (see photo). Set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan, in which you have placed a small piece of cabbage. When it sizzles, add rest of cabbage and stir well to evenly distribute oil; cook until vegetable is limp, stirring frequently. Meanwhile go to next step.
- Make roux in a small sauté pan: melt butter over medium heat, add flour, and stir vigorously with a wire whisk. Cook only until mixture is a light brown, about 30 seconds; remove from heat and set aside.
- When cabbage is soft, add salt and stir well.
- Blend roux from step 3 into vegetable, cook until consistency of cabbage is somewhat thickened, stir frequently.
- When done, remove from heat. May serve immediately or, better yet, enhance its flavor by letting it sit; when it sits, the cabbage juices form in bottom of pan. Use a wooden or plastic cooking spatula to loosen the fond (carmelized pan drippings and browned bits, which add great flavor); stir these juices and the loosened fond into cabbage (see top photo for finished product). Reheat just before serving.