August 1, 2010

Ham and Cabbage

Cabbage is in full swing at the farmer's market right now. I visited a local farm the other day and bought this huge head of cabbage

and these beautiful white potatoes with soft papery skins.

From the instant I heaved the cabbage into my cart, I knew exactly what I was going to make with of my favorite meals from childhood...ham and cabbage.

My Mom's ham and cabbage is just about the best, homey, comfort food you can eat! The recipe is so darn simple I can hardly believe it! A couple years ago when I asked my Mom for the recipe, I wrote it down and said,
She said, "that's it."
Then I said, "come on, there HAS to be something else!"
to which she replied,"nope that's it".
I was skeptical, but followed my Mother's recipe to the "T". The urge for adding a little of this and maybe a little of that was strong, but I had to resist.

I'm so glad I did because it was just as I had delicious, just the pure, natural flavors of earth's bounty...cabbage, potatoes, carrots, celery, ham and water all in one big pot! I did not even add a dash of salt or pepper! That will happen at the dinner table! There's always enough salty flavor from the ham, but a couple dashes of pepper atop the beautiful mound of carrots, potatoes and cabbage...oh my goodness...pure heaven.

As I write this now, ham and cabbage is boiling in a huge pot on my kitchen stove. The smell from the bubbling, burbling pot is filling the room and leaving me with a nostalgic and loving feeling for home. I am transported to a time when meals were cooked for me, laundry was done for me, and the only chores I had were setting the table, washing the supper dishes, and cutting the grass. Ah, life was easy.

And, so now, I cook ham and cabbage for my own family, hoping too that one day they will remember the ham and cabbage simmering in the kitchen of their childhood home. Maybe they will carry on the tradition of the pure, simple goodness of a home cooked meal. A meal cooked with love and locally grown vegetables.

Recipe for Ham and Cabbage:

1 small head of cabbage cut in half
8 white potatoes, leave the skins on cut into fourths
6 carrots, peeled, cut into rounds or chunks
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 1b. piece of ham

Throw all ingredients in a large pot. Fill water to just covering all contents. Bring to a boil. Cook on med. low heat for 1 hour or until all vegetables are soft and tender. Serve up in large soup bowls with salt and pepper on hand to season to your liking.