Sauerkraut dave kline mountain folklore
Often times when writing this column I get immersed in thoughts that make me feel like writing to each of you personally, one by one, communicating what I think and waiting for your responses in person or by e. -mail. .
I am very grateful for all the weekly responses I get from you and for the times when I am in public and you make a point of telling me what this weekly column means to you. In this way, I feel a common bond with you, as if we are a tribe of like-minded people, perhaps living in an imaginary bubble of happiness, friendships and goodwill, as if we are citizens of Hooterville, Petticoat Junction or Mayberry.
Together here we are our own community, and gratitude is what I want to share with you this week in honor of Thanksgiving. Here are the things we seem to have the most in common; love of traditions, love of family, love of food, love of friendships and nice people, and love for a divine Creator who put us all in the universe in the first place .
The old adage âsharing is caringâ came to my mind as I was setting my prep table at Friedens Church in Shartlesville last week. You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote about how Pastor Inge Williams and I called Yodeling Betty Naftzinger to celebrate her birthday, sing and eat together. At that time, and for the first time in my life, I tasted the Romanian-style homemade sauerkraut that Pastor Williams made from his family’s traditional recipe. I liked it! Special ingredients that were new to me included a bouquet garnished with tasty herbs and sliced ââhorseradish root.
Fortunately, Pastor Williams cared enough about sharing and preserving her family’s traditions that she offered to share her recipe and technique with a group of her flock and friends during a cooking class at her church. . As always, the drive to Shartlesville was beautiful and I listened to some holiday music on my way north. It really got me in the mood.
Thirteen of us followed Pastor Williams’ instructions, cutting off beautiful heads of fresh, unirradiated cabbage that she brought us from a local Mennonite farm. We have learned that it is important to use non-irradiated products for fermentation, because the low intensity radiation often used by the food industry to extend the shelf life of products kills the desirable bacteria that we want on our food. for the fermentation process. It is this “good bacteria” that makes the whole process possible.
Upon request, I dug up a bucket full of horseradish root from my own rack and offered it to anyone who wanted to make Romanian-style sauerkraut. I also brought and gifted some of my local elephant garlic, as the Romanian style encourages the additional use of savory items. Using an old-fashioned wooden mandolin to chop four heads of cabbage. I was then able to use my wooden cabbage stack to put everything in my 2 gallon pot.
Some of the people there talked about how they would use a baseball bat in giant pots to pound cabbage. Salting and pounding are used to extract water from the cabbage, which starts the fermentation process. We have been taught to use sea or kosher salt whenever possible, as salt with added iodine may not produce the best results.
After making a hell of a mess at my workstation, I ended up with a big jug of what should become Romanian-style savory sauerkraut in about eight weeks, just in time to enjoy it at the start of the New Year.
Tying it all together, Pastor Williams then summed it up by making comparisons between using the invisible miracle of beneficial bacteria to turn one thing into another. Each of us is in a constant state of transformation as we move from the cradle to the grave. What we cannot see creates miracles that sustained our ancestors and now us, if we are willing to believe in the wisdom handed down from generation to generation and practice the lessons born of love.
I posted some photos of the class on my Mountain Folklore Facebook page (which you are welcome to join, if you haven’t already), and within hours I received over 200 comments. People shared photos of their own antique mandolins, carving knives, and recipes. They talked about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and how their family treated sauerkraut. I found it all very heartwarming, which in turn filled me with gratitude and joy.
How lucky I am to be able to share this moment with you. Happy Thanksgiving, and you know what? Eat as much as you want!
Dave Kline is an award-winning writer, photographer, host and producer, singer-songwriter, travel guide and community advocate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.