Your tastebuds will dance a sweet and savory tango induced by the dynamic pairing of brown sugar and bacon – both wrapped in a blankety “zing” of vinegar and a sprinkling of caraway seed.
Indeed, cabbage has a bad rap. Why, the lips seem to curl at the very mention of its name! And while cabbage made a lot of appearances at depression era tables, there are some quite redeeming qualities of cabbage including protecting against stress, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and helping create a healthier complexion. I’m in!
the cabbage craze
Perhaps the biggest cabbage morale booster started in the 1970s. This was the golden era where the origins of the Cabbage Patch Kids kingdom was born. During this time I was preoccupied with skateboarding or patiently staring at the fruitless gems never born by my rock tumbler. Simultaneously a multi-billion dollar business was emerging thanks to the help of “Bunnybees” sprinkling magic dust on top of cabbages. Hey, don’t make fun of the messenger!
While your sweet and sour cabbage is chilling in the fridge you can enjoy the earliest Cabbage Patch Kids video I could locate (below) plus a video revealing the lesser-known story behind the pudgy dolls.
❤ Dressing tip: We didn’t notice the dressing turning clear per the instructions below; just make sure you don’t overcook it; in 3-4 minutes ours was done.
❤ This dish is best consumed the same day it’s made; the chopped cabbage will gradually lose its crisp the longer it sits.
❤ Love sweet and sour? Celebrate the flavorful ying and yang by clicking here for more of Mom’s recipes!
6 slices | bacon
3 tablespoons | bacon drippings, reserved from bacon (above)
2 tablespoons | white onion, chopped
½ cup | brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon | corn starch
1 teaspoon | salt
¼ cup | water
⅓ cup | vinegar
6 cups | red cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon | caraway seeds
ii. what to do
1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet then drain the excess. Cool then crumble the bacon and set it aside while we prepare our dressing.
2. To the drippings add the onion, brown sugar, corn starch, salt, water, and the vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and clear. Remove the dressing from heat and cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, caraway seeds. Add the crumbled bacon and the cooled dressing. Toss well and chill.
Yields 6 1-cup servings! I paired my cabbage with a nice home-grilled cheeseburger, which complimented the sweet and savory cabbage perfectly!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
And here are the videos I promised!
I was just a tot of 9 when this recipe was published.
Not that I remember or should remember, but I’ve developed a sixth sense affectionately termed “internet stalking.” Rather than use my acquired skills for ill will, I use my skills for the betterment of nostalgic foodie-ism. Which brings me to this recipe.
I really had no reason to turn over the “sweet and sour slaw” recipe (see the two-sided scan below) Mom had apparently torn from a magazine. But “curious me” did turn it over!
Reading the recipe’s back revealed an authors name “James Farrell.” And his book, “The Dunne Family.” In two clicks I found the book’s publish year of 1976, our nation’s bicentennial. Keying in a few words from the article – specifically “james farrell 1976 it was late afternoon when we picked up our boat in Newton Falls” and I was taken to this. A scan of the article which revealed it was from the May 2, 1976 issue of FAMILY WEEKLY.
I then found this black and white of the original cover that was from Florida (I think each city just printed their name on the front). Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert was on the cover with her two Moms. Melissa was a kid-time favorite of mine – bonnet and all. <– Shakes head, but true!
This recipe was a great find! It’s a kissing-cousin of cole slaw and the dressing is what makes it truly unique. Pineapple and lemon juice are the key dressing ingredients that make this crunchy salad a reacquired family favorite.
Hopefully this story reminds us all that sometimes things are greater than their initial face value. Turning over a stone here and there can be a good thing. In this case, I discovered another publication my Mom read when I was too young to take notice … plus I was able to reignite fond memories of a childhood friend … in just a few clicks.
foodie tips ~
♥ Unless you’re feeding a small village or love cabbage, I’d suggest easily “halving” this recipe! There were easily 15-25 servings based on the original recipe. I was eating slaw for days! The hips do not lie.
♥ This stored extremely well in the fridge. I think the flavors were able to buddy-up and become BFFs. At least that’s what my taste buds say.
♥ Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients vs. canned – in this case use fresh bean sprouts as I’ve never seen fresh water chestnuts.
2 ½ pounds | cabbage, shredded
2 cans (16 ounces) | bean sprouts, drained
2 cans (8.5 ounces) | water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
1 ½ cups | mayonnaise
6 tablespoons | lemon juice
⅔ cups | unsweetened pineapple juice
2 teaspoons | salt
1 ½ cups | onion, finely chopped
2 cans (4 ounces) | pimiento, drained and diced
ii. what to do
1. In a large bowl mix cabbage, sprouts and chestnuts. Cover and chill in the fridge.
2. Combine mayo, pineapple juice, lemon juice, salt and onion.
3. Pour dressing over the chilled veggies and toss until well coated.
4. Stir in the pimientos and serve!
Yields: 4 Quarts. QUARTS!
There are only a handful of recipes that I can recall from childhood memory. You’re looking at one of them.
You may at first grimace at the idea of sour cream with grapes… but the sweet and sour taste was one of the earliest I can remember and topped with brown sugar, it was very easy to get me to eat them!
I remember mom serving this grape salad in her white Pfaltzgraff Heritage style custard cups. I’ve still kept her dinnerware all these years as the simple style withstands the test of time.
You can serve this as a side to the main course, but I think this is best enjoyed as a dismount from the table ~ a dessert!
1 pound | washed green grapes, chilled
8 ounces | sour cream
½ teaspoon | vanilla
1 cup | brown sugar
optional ~ ½ cup | texas pecans, chopped
ii. what to do
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sour cream and vanilla until well blended.
2. Gently fold-in the grapes and coat well.
3. Transfer the grape mixture into individual-sized serving cups or onto a wide and flat serving platter (for folks to serve themselves).
4. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top… and the pecans, if desired. Try and ensure you get the brown sugar on top of the grapes (merely blending the sugar into the mixture will cause the sugar to dissolve).
Makes A Great Summer Treat
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Make sure and serve this treat chilled.
♥ You can double the recipe depending on how many folks you’re serving.
♥ As a young study, I don’t quite remember the pecans in mom’s original rendition of this, but it’s possible I forgot. I found a similar recipe during research online and feel that mom would approve; who doesn’t love the crispy crunch of Texas pecans? Today’s version of this treat calls for 4 ounces of sour cream and 4 ounces of softened creamed cheese (vs. 8 ounces of only sour cream). You can decide what tastes best.
♥ If you love sour cream, why not test out the mom’s frozen fruit delight ice cream? No churning required!