By Chef Dad (Mike)
Miss A turned eight at school last week. At her school, the kids recognize summertime birthdays before they let out for the year, so each kid can have a little celebration. Her birthday actually falls in July, but as regular readers of the blog know, we’re headed off on sabbatical in just a few short weeks, which means we’ve reached the end of second grade for our little girl, and sixth grade for our increasingly less little boy.
It also meant an hour and two trips to Target to fill little bags of party favors, an hour I didn’t really have. Planning for sabbatical is hard work, and while we know we’re blessed to have this opportunity, it hasn’t always felt that way. Kristy and I have somehow managed to each hold down full-time jobs and get both kids through to elementary school with (almost) no reliance on daycare even before preschool. The good thing is, all that practice has helped us learn how to juggle. See, on Wednesday, Miss A sprang on Kristy that she needed treat bags for school the next day, but as often happens, at 4:00 or so, work called, for Kristy this time. Juggling ensued.
I’m not entirely sure how much she knows it, but I am beyond grateful for all that Kristy has done to make this trip a reality. We’ve been planning this for years, and I suspect part of the reason we started this blog was to learn about where we might go some day.
Sabbatical is one of the perks of my job, and my university has a structure in place to support me when we’re gone. But it’s not one of the perks of Kristy’s job. She runs a small business, and while being your own boss can really help in terms of flexibility, it also comes with its own set of pressures. Over the past few years, long before the past three months in her calendar, she’s methodically put a plan in place to make a sabbatical one of the perks of her job too. When she’s been faced with the choice of taking on a demanding project to help us put a few dollars away, she’s done so. When she’s needed to put her faith in her staff to manage things, she’s done so. When she’s needed to go the extra mile to build the kind of trust in her clients to allow us to take this trip, she’s done so. And while she had to give up making treat bags with Miss A, she’s still made time to help out with her class party this week.
Which brings us, in a round-a-bout sort of way to our recipe for the day. See, I’ve been promising to chip in with a blog post for a few weeks now and I was all ready to do so the other day before work emergencies and December celebrations of July birthdays conspired to bring us the
great treat bag crisis Great Treat Bag Crisis. So, here it is, a few days late…
We call this galoucester (Ga-LOOSH-ter), cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, meat and a bit more than a pinch of salt. A google search for galoucester (spelling mine, pronunciation that of our good friends who came to visit from Wisconsin this Thanksgiving, Packer jerseys and all) fails to turn up any recipes, though there are plenty for stuffed cabbage leaves, and some for halupter, halupkis, or galubkis that seem like they’re talking about the same thing.
This recipe comes courtesy of Kristy’s old roommate and close friend, Missy, and has been passed down through several generations of her German family. We first had galoucester one Thanksgiving at Missy’s mom’s house back when Mr. N. was still just a twinkle in our eye. I remembered galoucester from that visit a dozen years ago and couldn’t wait to try it again.
Galoucester begins with a head of green cabbage. First, core it, boil it and peel off the leaves.
The leaves are then stuffed with a meat mixture that involves two kinds of meat-ground beef and bratwurst-mixed with rice-a-roni, onions, and salt. Lots of salt.
You can tell Missy’s done this before.
Once all the leaves are stuffed and wrapped, they are ready to go back into the pot with the water from boiling the cabbage, as well as more salt after each layer, and lots of it. As Missy said, if you aren’t feeling a little gross, you haven’t put in enough salt yet.
Once you’ve got all the wraps in, cover with kraut and water, then a little bit more salt.
Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and just make sure they stay covered. After an hour and a half or so, they’re ready to eat!
Despite Missy and Kristy living in different states since that first apartment they shared, we always manage to find our way together. Whether in California, Nevada, Wisconsin, Missouri, or Illinois, we’ve spent a few Thanksgivings with Missy and her husband Chris. And what started with the four of us, eventually grew to eight of us. Mr. L, Mr. M, Mr. N and Miss A, all different ages fit right together, always picking up right where they left off last time. Our get togethers are always easy, comfortable and filled with fun. While they say you can’t choose your family, we consider Missy, Chris and crew as family, and we’d certainly choose them.
And as a side benefit we get to consider galoucester a family recipe too! Which is great because we all love it. We couldn’t eat it all on Thanksgiving, what with a turkey and stuffing to deal with too, but we did put a serious dent in it.
The galoucester was a winner all-around (unlike the Packers who lost to the Bears at Green Bay that day!). For the voting, it was a hit all around, but not quite a four-spooner for everyone. The first time we had it, we didn’t have sauerkraut and I think I’d have left it off again this time. It’s not traditionally a part of Missy’s family recipe, but this year, for the first time in her life, she came across a recipe very similar to her family’s in an Ellis Island cookbook. This one called for krout, so we gave it a shot. While we all preferred her family’s original, non-krout recipe, it was still really good! Three and a half spoons for Kristy, Mr. N and I. As for Miss A (our resident cheesehead being born in Wisconsin), it’s usually easier to tell how much she likes it by how much she eats , rather than by what she votes, and she ate a ton. “Two spoons,” she said. “But you liked it a lot,” we said. “Yup. Two spoons,” she said. Can’t argue with that, I guess. (Much like her logic that she is in fact 8 years old now too!)
Print this recipe: Galoucester