Maybe it's simply living well through an inspired kitchen that is finally the best revenge against a wild and often wicked world? While working on my Cook Book, "From Jefferson's Table", I realized how important creative culinary arts have been to each of the eras that marked the almost 250 years of American life represented by my grandmothers.
This is Selma, the sharecropper's daughter. She was only fifteen when she won the heart of my great grand dad, the direct Grandson, three generations removed of Thomas Jefferson. The story goes that this emigrant child from Prussia was working in the fields, on the Bankhead lands, with her spectacular mane of copper gold locks flowing, when John happened by and was soundly smitten.
The family fortunes suffered greatly under reconstruction when land was absconded and a voice in government was blocked. A general contentious attitude marred the prevailing mood, but not at Selma’s house where the heart of the home was her magnetic, lively kitchen with a monumental wood burning stove that acted like a stage for all her delectable dishes. Here is her Red Cabbage recipe that we use often as a side dish especially when we do her famous Sauerbraten.
1 head red cabbage shredded
1 large red onion sliced fine.
1/4 C. unsalted butter or
1 tart green apple unpeeled and
Cut in large dice
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. Red wine
1 C. water
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 T. sesame seeds
1/2 C. raisins
2 strips crisp bacon crumbled.
Sauté onions in butter. Cut the core and shred the
cabbage. Add all other ingredients except bacon.
Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, stirring
at intervals. Add salt & pepper to taste.
To serve, sprinkle bacon crumbles on top.