Pickles (was: Re: Which Contains Far Too Many Confusions...)

Anna Skarzynska theania at freeuk.com
Tue Mar 27 12:16:35 EST 2001

Incidentally, pickled cabbage (aka sauerkraut) is made without vinegar,
unlike most other pickled things. You shred the cabbage and pack it tightly
into a barrel, adding layers of salt between layers of cabbage. You cover it
with a "floating" lid and weigh it down with a stone and it pickles itself.
I never heard of the apples though. Sauerkraut is eaten in Germany, too. In
Poland a stew is made of it, with wild mushrooms, prunes and leftover cuts
of meat and sausage. I often wonder whether Poles and Germans and other
mittel-Europeans adopted and adapted Jewish cooking, or vice versa, or a bit
of both. Could have gone both ways, I expect - before WWII about a third of
Warsaw's population were Jewish. I don't know whether this ratio was
maintained elsewhere in the region.

> Here's another story about my grandmother, who grew up in Poland. She was
> born in 1914 in a family of few means and several children, of which she
> the baby, being 15 years younger than the next youngest brother. She did
> tell me many stories about her childhood, but here's one that came out the
> first time I mortally offended her by refusing to eat a slice of pickled
> apple. She told me that when she was a child in Poland, fruits and
> vegetables were very scarce in winter, so just before the weather turned
> cold her family would make sure to prepare great big barrels of pickled
> vegetables to eat during the winter. The staple vegetable in these barrels
> was cabbage, as it was common and cheap, but a few apples were added in
> flavour. By mid-winter, she claimed, everyone was thoroughly sick of
> cabbages. But the pickled apples were a fought-over delicacy, and one of
> special privileges as family baby was to eat the apples.
> I loved this story, and I wish she had told me more about her childhood.
> it did nothing to change the fact that when she prepared pickles, I far
> preferred the cabbage to the apples.

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