Wednesday, January 5, 2011

#4 Pickled Cabbage

Time for another vegetable diatribe!

I have to admit, I am starting to develop quite a soft spot for Danish pickled red cabbage or rødkål. It's a condiment staple but especially popular around this time of year when it makes numerous apperances in Danish families' holiday meals. I've also since learned that it's a) one of the hardest Danish words to pronounce and b) also the word for raw red cabbage.

These two things combined could lead to some horrible disappointment as I searched in vain up and down the grocery aisles for my newfound friend except that there's absolutely no mistaking it. The slightly sweet, pickled stuff takes over fully half an aisle!

There are so many un-American things about this I don't even know where to begin. That people are even buying and eating a pickled vegetable. It's kind of like the six-month old carrots rotting in their bag. Most Americans have a jar of pickles sitting in the back of the fridge with an expiration date somewhere around 1997 figuring, "It's pickled so it can't go bad, right?" We keep them on hand so as not to embarass ourselves in that dire 4th of July emergency where somebody actually asks, "Hey, who forgot the pickles?".

And sure, American supermarkets stock large aisles of pickles but have you ever seen people making a run on that section? Have you ever thought, "Holy cow, I better buy a bucket of gherkins before there's none left for me!" Folks, I can tell you first hand, around Christmas time, this stuff was a hot commodity and those were my exact thoughts. It was flying off the shelves. People were carrying buckets of it out of the store by the armload. So I elbowed my way into the fray, scooped up my jars and smiled like I'd just scored a sweet Black Friday deal.