What food did your parents make that you just absolutely hated? For me, it was tuna salad sandwiches and braised pork with sauerkraut. I dreaded the smell of sauerkraut. But see, the major problem was that she didn’t do much to the tuna or the sauerkraut to make it more appetizing. Now tuna salad sandwiches still aren’t my favorite, but I have found a way to like them. But braised pork and sauerkraut is something I crave and something I love. It is a sign of fall. And here is how I make it.
Sauerkraut for the Sour, Apples for the Sweet
Food, in all ways, consists of balance. I think that is what made my mom’s sauerkraut less than ideal. She didn’t add balance. Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lactic acid fermentation. The cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt, and left to ferment. Fully cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at 15 °C (60 °F) or below. Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required, although these treatments prolong storage life.
Without a touch of sweetness, however, there is no balance. So, I love to cook my sauerkraut in apples, a touch of white wine, apple cider, spices and eat it with a healthy helping of whole grain mustard.
Yearnings of Childhood
My mom is coming to live with me soon. She’s gotten to the point in her life that being alone just isn’t safe. Last month she broke her wrist and was reliant on her neighbors and members of her church to help her, and it killed me that I was so far away.
At the same time, my children are growing up. This morning I dropped my oldest son off at high school to go to an auto shop competition at Utah Valley University. He was told to dress professionally, and as he got out of the car it dawned on me that there isn’t much time left with him. Soon he’ll be heading out into the world. I cried all the way home.
Though it was 6 in the morning, I headed home and warmed up a bowl of this from last night. It gave me comfort to have the food of my childhood. I know I’ve done my best to pass on the love and memories to my son and when my mom comes to be with me, I’ll serve her up a new and improved version of her favorite dish – and everything will be alright.