Friday, March 13, 2009

German Red Cabbage

Most of my childhood memories revolve around German foods that my mother and grandmother baked or cooked. Many years ago, I sat down with my mother and told her despite the fact that she did not use recipes, I needed to know the measurements so that I could duplicate these recipes. With her heavy German accent, we were able to get things on paper, try out the written measurements and correct if need be. I then composed a small cookbook for myself so I will always have these recipes near.

Then back in the 1970's, I was asked to teach a German cooking class at the local career college in the small town where we lived. Being German food which is certainly a lot different than quick Oriental cooking, I had to lay out my plans and buy double to start one dish at home, start another dish at school, and then finish the dish I had started at home at school. Work, yes, you betcha!

I had two small daughters at the time and now when I think back on it, I am amazed how busy I kept myself. I was very fortunate to stay home with the girls and not go to work until my youngest was a junior in high school. Therefore, I did a lot of cooking, baking and sewing at home. In fact, I even sewed myself two Dirndl dresses with aprons to wear to these classes. Oh how I wish I could fit into them now, 30 years later. I still have them, but know that I will never be able to wear them again. Too much German food has passed by my lips since then.

At Christmastime, I met a neighbor and we started talking about food. I found out she loves German red cabbage and does not know how to make it. I told her, one of these days, I would make some and bring it to her. So, today is the day.

German Red Cabbage (Rot Kraut)

1 medium head red cabbage, shredded

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 apple, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar (not Heinz which is too strong tasting)

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

In a deep pot, melt butter over low heat. Add the onions and saute' for a few minutes. Then add the shredded cabbage and the rest of the ingredients. Stir together well. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer. Put lid back on and let steam. Stir occasionally and simmer for almost an hour.


  1. Oh, Susan, I love this post on so many levels. I adore red cabbage and can tell you've a great recipe here.
    I can also see you teaching that class and standing by your Grandmother's side taking notes. Memory lane is sometimes a very nice place to stroll.

  2. Thank you, Mary. Everytime I make one of my German recipes, it takes me back so many years and so many memories. Cooking is sometimes magical, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Oh, I can smell it now. I should make for kids this weekend. Plan on making Oma's dumpling soup this summer when you come. I want the kids to try it. Also some pickled ham. E

  4. Gloria8:12 PM

    This reminds me of when I was a newlywed and living in Idaho. I wrote to my 100% German Grandma and asked her for several recipes. It took her quite some time to respond. When she did, she explained that she had to make the recipes and write down the measurements. She cooked by instinct and feel, I think.