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It’s starting to feel like Comfort Food Days

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One cold, snowy February morning in 1986 , I was off to work in the Circulation Department at the Omaha World-Herald when my little Datsun 310GX would not start. It was 5 a.m. and I had to knock on my neighbors door to ask for help jump starting the car battery. To this day, I still remember his words, because I said them over and over to myself all the way into work that Sunday: “Dude, you need a new job.” Yes, I did. And better weather. So, I gave notice, packed up my belongings and left the wind chill factor behind.

Over  the years, though, I began to miss the Fall season. So, when in 1993 I moved to NW Louisiana, I thought “Great, I will get to have fall again!” Oh, was I in for a rude one. After raking 15 bags of leaves and pine needles on the weekend early in October, I began my hunt for a neighbor kid would wanted to make some spending money raking for me!

Now that I’ve been back in San Diego for 13 years, home, sweet, home where  I belong and plan never to leave again, we had a really hot summer and just this past week it dawned on me that it may be gone for the year. The air is cool and crisp and there is a slight breeze; we’ve even had some much-needed rain. We sleep with the windows open and no more fans drying out our eyes at night. Plus, it’s football season – a sure clue that fall is upon us. Having grown up in Omaha, I continue to this day as a Huskers football fan. I drive a red Mazda 3 with a Husker helmet antennae ball (this helps me locate my car because I am surrounded by SUVs and when the car is tucked in-between a Cadillac Escalade and a Ford Flex, it is impossible to see until you come right up on it).  My Huskers have had a record-breaking season, not all good records, either. But, once a Husker fan, always a Husker fan.

Along with the cooler weather comes the desire to pull out sweaters and socks and think about warm, comfort food. Last November, I decided to make my grandmother Oma’s recipe of sauerbraten for a Thanksgiving potluck at the office. I marinated the roast for 5-7 days in the refrigerator, slow cooked it and served it with mashed potatoes, gravy made from the sauce (not sour cream), and cooked red cabbage. To quote Rachel Ray, “Yum-O!” So here’s Oma’s recipe if you are wanting to try some comfort food yourselves:


4 lb. roast                   1 bay leaf                   2 sliced onions                   salt and pepper                        16 cloves

3 c. vinegar               3 c. water

Put the roast into a large bowl or pan. Cook over low heat all of the remaining ingredients. Cook for 20 minutes. Pour over meat, cover with plate or foil and put in refrigerator. Let stand 5-7 days.  Turn meat daily if marinade does not cover it completely. [You can use the Tupperware marinating container and just flip it daily.] Cook meat like a pot roast, using small amount of marinade at a time. Make gravy from sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Cooked Red Cabbage

Large head red cabbage                3 T oil             salt  and pepper           1 bay leaf                   peppercorns

8 cloves         1 big green apple, cut in fourths, unpeeled          ½ c. brown sugar     ½ c. cider vinegar     ½ c. water

Wash red cabbage, drain and slice with sharp knife very thin. In iron skillet, heat oil and add sliced cabbage and heat through. Turn cabbage over often until fallen down. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook very slowly for 15 minutes. Add bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves and green apple quarters. Add brown sugar, cider vinegar and water. Cook slowly about 3 hours. Is best if cooked a day in advance and warmed up.


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