The aroma of red cabbage drifts over the partial wall separating my desk and yarn-storage space from the mess in the kitchen.
Yes, it’s the first of the two annual Dread Turkey celebrations. This year I’m trying a new method for rendering a head of red cabbage into the requisite tiny bits for Danish red cabbage: chopping finely instead of shredding. This year I’m also trying a new turkey-cooking method, thereby splitting the dread between the turkey itself and the new air-fryer appliance. A spread dread is a lesser dread, no?
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the aroma of red cabbage cooking in sugar and vinegar. This sweet/sour dish appeared only twice a year in my childhood home (a restriction due, I believe, to the shredding-work involved), but it was a must-have for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Over time, it was that very restriction that invested this aroma with special meaning. Lots of foods smell good while cooking: barbequed hamburgers and garlicky stir-frys, among others. Lots smell *very* good: brownies and homemade bread, among others. (Your results may vary.) But for me, nothing smells quite as good as red cabbage, because nothing carries the same weight of family memories.
What about the other infrequent treats: shortbread cookies and pumpkin pies? Close. Delightfully so. But only close.
So, on this Thanksgiving weekend I give thanks for the smell of red cabbage cooking on the stove. And for the memories.