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Lazy cabbage rolls

Going someplace means having someone come in to look after the house. It means making sure loose ends don't follow you like laundry left in a laundry basket seems to create its own lost sock pile.

Going someplace means having someone come in to look after the house. It means making sure loose ends don't follow you like laundry left in a laundry basket seems to create its own lost sock pile. It means packing neatly so you have everything you need.

Well, I thought I was going someplace last week and so I babbled on and on about packing light and all that rot. Well, this week I think I should talk about cabbage rolls.

Cabbage rolls are tasty, but time consuming to prepare. Cabbage roll casserole is a snap to prepare. Plus, the oven does most of the work. True, casserole doesn't look the same as tiny, neat rows of cabbage rolled around contents. If you give it a moment's thought you realize that those tiny rows of cabbage rolls represent hours in the kitchen.

To make a cabbage roll you either have to begin with a pickled head of cabbage from which you slowly and carefully removed one leaf at a time only to watch most peel into narrow strips unfit for wrapping, unless you intend to bandage the stuffing. Or you cut the end from a huge cabbage and steam it until you can pull the leaves from it one by one. Then you have to cut out the rib that holds the leaves together. The next thing you notice is you will run out of nice large leaves before you run out of stuffing. It never comes out even no matter what you do. You end up with a pot of cabbage leaves rolled around contents. Said contents are spilling out tiny splits in the cabbage leaves and wandering round the bottom of the baking dish. Sigh and pour tomato juice over all and bake. Or make lazy cabbage rolls.

To make lazy cabbage rolls, or cabbage casserole as it truly is, brown 2 lb. of hamburger and just before the meat is totally done toss in a package of dry onion soup and finish browning. While the meat is cooking, slice two pounds of cabbage finely and put it in a large casserole dish. Once the meat mixture is done, mix in two cups of cooked rice. Then spread the meat and rice mix over the cabbage. Mix two cans of tomato soup with two cans of water, or use five cups of tomato juice, and pour over the cabbage and meat in the casserole. Cover and bake for one and a half hours in a 325F oven while you play scrabble on the computer.

Some would say this is a fine thing come to pass, that cabbage rolls would become cabbage casserole. I say it is a fine thing to free people from the kitchen. It proves nothing that you can carry a few cabbage rolls in your hand as compared to having to eat cabbage casserole from a dish. So what? You can carry a hamburger in your hand too, but it doesn't stop the fast food outlet from putting it in a container. There is no reason you couldn't put cabbage casserole in a bag for snacking purposes. It can still be finger food, but you'll have to lick your fingers clean before you get back to your keyboard, won't you?

I've always believed that the best way to eat cabbage rolls is slowly, with friends to help empty the pan. So, would they turn down cabbage casserole, especially if you called it cabbage roll casserole? I think not, and neither would your family.

If you really want friends and family to believe you slaved in the kitchen you could scatter evidence. Arrange a few cabbage leaves here and there along with spilled kernels of uncooked rice as proof of long hours of slavish work in the kitchen. Did I mention to leave the evidence in the kitchen? Leaving it in front of the computer or the television can give away the entire device. You can smear tomato soup across your shirtfront and look woebegone and downtrodden, but no one will believe work caused the problem if they find leavings in front of the entertainment system. No, they will accuse you of snacking while indulging your indolence.

Since arrival to Dawson Creek in 1960, Margo Hannah plants, paints and ponders, utilizing thrift and sloth to accomplish all. Beefs or bouquets to margohannah@yahoo.com.

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