[Sca-cooks] ginormous amounts of cabbage

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sat Jan 10 05:58:23 PST 2009

On Jan 10, 2009, at 12:36 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Adamantius replied to me with:
> < On Jan 9, 2009, at 10:12 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:
> So what are you planning on making with this ginormous amount of
> cabbage? Stuffed cabbages? >
> << It's being shredded, so I doubt it's being stuffed.>>
> Oops. Okay, I forgot that detail.  Are there any period dishes which  
> are stuffed with shredded cabbage instead of being stuffed in  
> cabbage??

I'm not sure, off the top of my head. Perhaps we should be asking what  
dish is actually being prepared, and whether it's being taken from a  
period source.
> < pickled cabbages, sauerkraut? Although I seem to remember no one
> having definative proof for sauerkraut being period, or at least no
> recipe. >
> << Apart from the remains of pots of pickled cabbage being found in  
> the
> base of the Great Wall of China and elsewhere, I believe sauerkraut is
> mentioned in Marx Rumpolt. >>
> I don't consider those remains at the base of the Great Wall of  
> China to be "period".

Ah. Well, that's where you and the Corpora documents of the SCA, Inc,  
differ. Personally, I prefer not to use the p-word in polite  
conversation anyway; it's effectively meaningless.

> And that is pickled, not fermented.

It's pickled in brine in which lactic acid has formed via  
fermentation. Next? In addition, some sauerkraut is made by simply  
pickling in vinegar. Mostly it isn't, but the practice is not  

> Okay, reading through this Florilegium file again:
> sauerkraut-msg    (36K)  9/25/05    Period sauerkraut and pickled  
> cabbage.
> I see that we definitely have a number of references to "sauerkraut"  
> including Rumpolt. But none of them give directions or a recipe. So  
> we really don't know whether they were referring to a fermented  
> product or just a salted one.

"Sour" implies the presence of an acid, generally. Sodium chloride not  
being an acid, I have to assume there's some other, acid-producing,  
chemical reaction going on. A wildly conspicuous suspect from our  
Rogue's Gallery of Suspicious Chemical Reactions is fermentation.

>  I think it is highly likely that we are talking about a fermented  
> product, but its hard to prove.  Once you have the right microbes in  
> the environment, in the cask or whatever, I think you are sooner or  
> later going to get a fermented product, but I'm not sure how easy it  
> is to get the right ones, although having a cask previously used to  
> make fermented product would certainly help.

The yeasts and bacteria favored by brewers, vintners, bakers and dairy  
folk do tend to  be harbored in wooden vessels, and this fact does  
serve those people well, but as a general rule, they're trying to  
inoculate something with a specific bug _before_ the overwhelmingly  
omnipresent airborne, souring bacteria can get into the item in  
question and reproduce. The hard part isn't getting those bacteria to  
grow in your food or beverage; it's keeping them out that's tough.

> Many of our fighters seem to like to drink pickle juice (yuck!). We  
> can go through several gallon jars at one event.  Maybe we need to  
> try sauerkraut juice? :-)

It's supposed to be full of elecrolytes and other beneficial goodies.  
Maybe you'd be more comfortable with the watered sour wine favored by  
Roman soldiers?


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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