Wednesday, June 19, 2013

'98 Thoughts On “Growing Cabbage”'

I was doing a tad bit of Internet research on cabbage growing techniques and came across  '98 Thoughts On “Growing Cabbage"'on a web site.  The "98 Thoughts" thing was just the clever  way for the blogger to indicate comments on the posting, but it sure sounds like a challenge to me!


98 Thoughts on Growing Cabbage

  1. Sew your cabbages in February, when the sun passes into Pices.  Not Gemini, mind you because that would be way too late.  If you are in a southern clime, that won't work for you at all.  Try October.  Libra?  Is that the right sign?  
  2. Note that cabbage seeda look like radish seed or like mustard seed or like turnip seed. 
  3. The seeds look alike because cabbages, radish, mustard, turnip, brocoli, kohlrabi, and cauliflower are all members of the brassica family. 
  4. That spiciness you taste in mustard is the same chemical that is found in all brassicas--even the bland (blanched) cauliflower.  Treat them all with the respect they deserve.
  5. Jesus pondered on the mustard grain.  You can ponder on cabbage grain and the wondrous large goodness that grows from such a tiny seed.
  6. When I was a kid, I made my own sauerkraut.  You take a Mason jar, salt, water, and cabbage.  Stuff the cabbage in the jar with the salt.  fill with water.  Cap the jar with cheese cloth and put it in a dark cool place.  A few weeks later you will have sauerkraut.  A few week laters I had sauerkraut.  
  7. Place your sewn seeds in a warm place for germination.  After they have germinated, move them to a very bright window.  Whatever you do, do not let the cabbage get leggy.
  8. If you cabbage gets leggy, all is not lost.  Pot it on and make sure it gets plenty of light.  I suggest a grow lamp.
  9. Leggy cabbage seedlings actually do just fine; do not trust gardening experts.
  10. While Thoreau famously grew beans, he should have grown cabbages too, since cabbage grows well in New England and would have provided a fine source of nutrients in the lean winter months.
  11. Korean cuisine uses Nappa cabbage to make kimchi.  Nappa cabbage is also a brassica.  Add that to your list.
  12. Cabbage is famously derided as a peasant food.  Celebrate that derision.
  13. There are, to date, no American television shows devoted to cabbage.  I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that there are whole Korean and German epics written about it.
  14. The cabbage in cabbage and corned beef is best cooked in the corned beef stock with the corned beef.  Place your shreaded cabbage in the corned beef pot when about a half hour of cooking time is left for the beef.  Cover.
  15. Do not listen to cooks who say cabbage should never be covered.  They fear the so-called stench of cooking cabbage, and are most likely reliving bad peasant childhood experiences when their mothers always covered the cabbage to cook it.  
  16. Pot-on your cabbage on when they have developed their first true leaves.  A true leaf is one that looks like a cabbage and not the roundish leaf that, basically, makes up most of the seed and surrounds the germ.
  17. Germination is called germination because the germ swells, the cotyledon expands, and first roots appear.
  18. The germ is an embryo.
  19. After you have potted on your cabbage seedlings, marvel at how fast they grow and become leggy.  Ignore the legginess.
  20. Try to make kimchi out of regular cabbage.  While not purist, I'm convinced it will work. 
  21. While vodka is made out of potatoes, there is nothing saying that it couldn't be made out of cabbage.
  22. Coleslaw is an oft derided summer salad.  Relish it.
  23. Cabbage can be planted out before the last frost, so long as you harden-off your seedlings by exposing them to the cooler temperatures outside.
  24. Cabbage heads, when firm, can and do indeed explode.  My father told me a story once of irrigating late one early summer evening when it had gotten hot, when the cabbage heads exploded around him because of the new-found water.
  25. Who wrote that cabbages and kings poem?  Oh yeah.
  26. There is no information as to whether Lewis Carroll enjoyed a tasty coleslaw on a damp English summer day, but he most likely did.
  27. Red cabbage is just red.  Its redness imparts no special flavor, but you would never make blaukraut with green cabbage.  
  28. Blaukraut is the red-headed step sister of sauerkraut for Americans, but it is far tastier, in my humble opinion.
  29. Most likely there are fine nutrients in red cabbage that you do not get in green cabbage and the taste is, no doubt, spicier than green.  Do not trust food experts on flavor profiles of cabbage varieties.  Red cabbage does have a distinct cabbagy flavor to it.  
  30. Thoreau could have preserved his cabbage using German methods.
  31. He could have also used Korean methods, but, no doubt, Korean culture had not quite spread to America at that point.
  32. Fish tacos must have cabbage on them.  They are not fish tacos otherwise.
  33. My brother grew amazingly beautiful cabbages.
  34. Kohlrabi is an amazingly tasty vegetable.  It is basically the swelling of the stem, and develops a distinct spicy taste.  I suggest you grow it next year.
  35. The history of cabbage is unclear, but they were most likely developed from wild field cabbage on or around March 12, 1000 B.C.
  36. Cabbage is a biennial.  If you want to be all retro and harvest your own seeds, you will need to be patient and let your cabbage ride out the winter. 
  37. Cabbages can be kept in the ground long after winter sets in.  Mulch them with straw to keep them from freezing through and making them inedible.  And by mulch I mean cover them profusely.
  38. Thoreau could also have done this.
  39. Instead he walked the five miles from Walden to Cambridge to barter for cabbage.
  40. Lewis Carroll never left Oxford.  He bought his cabbage at the Oxford Covered Market.  No reason to get wet. 
  41. Cabbages represent the Julia set in fractal geometry.  When you peel away the leaves you find more cabbage.
  42. The Cabbage White Butterfly (pieris rapae) is seen as a serious pest to all brassicae.  
  43. So they eat a few leaves.  It is not like they destroy the plant.  Lighten up, people.
  44. Club root, however, is a serious problem in the garden.  Once you get club root, you must refrain from planting brassicae for at least 4 years.  
  45. The lack of cabbage in the garden is sad.
  46. Sulforaphane is the chemical that causes for cole crops to have their spiciness and smell.  
  47. Sulforaphane, apparently, is a potent anti-cancer agent.  It is unclear if it prevents influenza or tuberculosis.
  48. I have 50 thoughts more to go on cabbage.  And they said the onion has many layers.  Julia set!
  49. Neither Thoreau or Carroll died of cancer.  They must have eaten their vegetables.
  50. Before the last frost, plant your cabbage seedlings in well-tilled earth, about 2 feet apart.
  51. Robert Frost farmed in both England and America.  Surely, he grew cabbage between swinging on birches and trying-not-very-hard to build stone walls with his neighbors.
  52. Skunk cabbage is not a brassica and should not be eaten.
  53. Apparently bears eat skunk cabbage root after hibernating to induce emesis.  
  54. Cabbage is full of soluble fiber.  
  55. What's good for the bowels is good for the brain.
  56. Despite our tropical notions of India, cabbage is indeed grown there and does feature highly in Indian cuisine.
  57. I bet Sinead O'Connor enjoys cabbage. 
  58. Marianne Faithful, however, should eat more cabbage, given all the cigarettes she smoked.
  59. I can think of no songs that feature cabbages.
  60. There are songs about cabbages.
  61. If you put Thoreau, Lewis Carroll, Robert Frost, Sinead O'Connor, and Marianne Faithfull in a room with a cabbage, the cabbage is not going to come out unscathed.
  62. Mark Twain sure hated cabbage or maybe college educations.
  63. Ok, he didn't really hate cabbage; he hated the pretentious upstart cauliflower.  Damn you college boy cauliflower.
  64. Fertilize your cabbage regularly.  They are big eaters and have big appetites.  Yeah, they have a lust for life.
  65. People who love cabbage, therefore, have a lust for life.  
  66. It is unclear if Michelangelo liked cabbage, but there is ample evidence that he ate it, given the prevalence of cabbage in rustic Italian cuisine.
  67. Rustic is a romanticized version of peasant (with cabbages.)
  68. The savoy cabbage must have come from Italy.  I insist on that.
  69. Broccoli.
  70. There is a reason that George Bush the First was not re-elected and that reason is cabbaged-based. (Well that and he had many cabbage-headed policies.)
  71. Cabbage head must be a mild Shakespearean insult.
  72. What you can find on the Internet.
  73. The Kids in the Hall, of course had 
  74. So the Kids in the Hall, Shakespeare, George Bush, Marianne Faithfull, Sinead O'Connor, Robert Frost, Lewis Carroll, Thoreau and a cabbage are locked in a room.  Now that's pure comedy gold.
  75. I really want to believe that Marshall McLuhan talks about cabbage in this radio interview.
  76. 76 cabbages sat on a wall.  Who--oh who, will happen to fall?  A cabbage.
  77. If a lark should appear whilst planting your cabbages, rejoice for the LORD is with thee.
  78. What's the best coleslaw recipe?  Fancy you should ask.  I suggest a sauce of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part sugar and a generous dash for mustard.  Grind heavy with your pepper grinder. 
  79. My mother had an excellent innovation for coleslaw:  no sauce but just cheese and onion.  
  80. Geese like cabbage.
  81. My brother's cabbage were once torn to shreds by our flock of geese.  Geese are also obsessed with tin foil.
  82. I am unclear on how cabbage relish differs from saurekraut or blaukraut, but I'm willing to give it a go.
  83. You have to be patient with cabbage.  Just because they have formed a head doesn't mean that they are ready to harvest. 
  84. Test your cabbage's readiness for harvest by manipulating the head with your very own two hands.  If it gives way when you grip it, it is not ready.  If it is solid as a rock, time to harvest.
  85. The best place to get blaukraut in Salt Lake City is definitely Siegfired's Delicatessen.
  86. I bet Wagner thought cabbage was peasant food.  Fuck Wagner.
  87. To prevent club root you should keep your seedlings isolated from other cole crops.
  88. Mon petit chou is a term of endearment in French.
  89. With all their haute cuisine, the French still love le chou.
  90. In the immortal words of Gertrude Stein "A cabbage is a cabbage is a cabbage."
  91. Don't separate a dog from his cabbage.
  92. Cats, however, have better manners.
  93. Did I mention coleslaw?   Well here is how to get the perfect shred.
  94. KFC has ruined coleslaw for everyone.  Fuckers.
  95. One medium cabbage leaf (23 grams) has 6 calories in it.
  96. If an average cabbage weighs 3 pounds, then a three pound cabbage would contain 354 calories.
  97. Thoreau would have to eat 8 cabbages to get his necessary calorie intake for one day.
  98. That's a lot of cabbage.