Last week I had a lot of fun on the blog sharing a bunch of easy and delicious treats made with pumpkin and protein powder. This probably didn’t seem too out of character for me. After all, some of my longtime readers may as well know me as the Pumpkin Princess and I’ve talked many times about how important working out and eating healthy are to me. But today I want to touch on a more serious topic that is equally a part of me.
A few weeks ago my local synagogue invited Joanne Caras to speak about her amazing project, The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook. I had the privilege of listening while Joanne recounted the events and people that inspired her to seek out Holocaust survivors around the world to share their recipes for a cookbook. Her goal was to publish a book whose sales would directly benefit Carmei Ha’ir, a soup kitchen in Jerusalem unique in its commitment to serve the needy with dignity. Joanne not only achieved her dream but gave the world another gift: a uniquely joyful way to recall and honor a time and people almost completely lost during World War II.
Typically we remember the persecuted by what was taken from them: personal objects, family, dignity. Pictures in textbooks, artifacts in museums, and written accounts illustrate piles of shoes and clothes, children being ripped away from their parents, and despicable conditions in which to live and die. But The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook is different. Within its pages, those same victims have chosen to give something to us: their recipes. These are not typical artifacts; recipes as we know can continue to be passed on and spread joy around a table from generation to generation. At the same time, these recipes honor those who were able to pass them on, and their loved ones left behind. Each recipe is accompanied by a story so that their memories are never lost.
Some of the recipes in the book are similar to ones my family traditionally makes and others are completely new to me. For my first recipe from this book I wanted something that hasn’t already appeared in my kitchen and was (or could be adapted to be) relatively healthy. Regina Freeman’s Sweet and Sour Cabbage fit my criteria. Cabbage is not something I normally make, and the recipe as written was not entirely specific, therefore encouraging a little interpretation. Ms. Freeman was able to survive due to the generosity and courage of her aunt’s (a dentist) patients, who hid Regina and her aunt. The majority of Regina’s nine siblings were not so fortunate.
Regina’s guideline for sweet and sour cabbage inspired me to come up with my own version, a little healthier and updated to use clean ingredients. But the important things remain the same: it’s a warm, comforting, hearty side dish reminiscent of a family from long ago and far away. On top of that, it’s delicious, and I’ll definitely be making it again.
Sweet and Sour Cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded (yields 600gm)
14oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract, or other sweetener to taste
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Gradually add the cabbage, a few handfuls at at time, tossing it with the onions and letting it cook down. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and chopped apples. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cabbage and apples are soft. If the mixture seems dry, a little bit of water can be added. Finally, add the cider vinegar and sweetener, and season to taste with salt.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 4.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 943.2 mg
Total Carbs: 31.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.6 g
Protein: 3.2 g