And food is the topic for this month. As the child of immigrants, Mom spoke another language at home and learned English at school and from her older siblings. My Busia never did learn to speak English, despite living in the USA for over 50 years. Mom refused to teach me any Polish, other than the swear words she'd occasionally let slip, and the names attached to the foods I enjoyed.
As a small child, I'd watch as Mom cooked, and when older, I wrote down what she was doing, because she made Busia's specialties without a recipe. That's how I learned to make her chicken soup, her capoosta with kielbasa (sourkraut with Polish sausage), and her apple pies. But my favorite dinner was Golabki. I marveled at the spelling when I finally saw it in a Polish cookbook, because of how Mom pronounced it. I could only eat one "gwumbeck" when I was small, but Mom would mash her "gwumpki" up with a fork then mix them with mashed potatoes, and pour ketchup over the whole plate, then settle down to eating with a huge smile on her face.
When I got to college, my friends soon learned to look forward to being invited over to my apartment for "Polish soul food." I'd make up a huge pot of golabki, another pot of mashed potatoes, and we'd all sit around enjoying the feeling of being full for a short time. Before her dementia stole Mom from me, I used to cook her golabki or capoosta, and when she put it into her mouth, her face would relax and she'd look happy. I like to think she was remembering, even if only with her taste buds, who she was.
So here's Busia's recipe. It's not fancy or gourmet by any means, But it's substantial food to warm you from the inside, during the long, cold winter we're heading into. It would be a nice touch if you wore a babooshka and played polka music while you served it, but it's not really necessary. Just tell everyone it's your way of telling them you love them, by filling their bellies with fuel to keep them warm.
1# ground beef (I use ground round)
1# ground pork (I use pork tenderloin)
(Note: you can use all beef if you prefer, but I like the combination, often sold as "meatloaf mix". My butcher grinds it up special for me.)
1 cup white rice (cooked to make 3 cups)
2 large onions
5 stalks celery
2 Tbsp, butter, 2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 large, firm cabbages
2 large cans Campbells tomato soup (or 4 small cans)
1 1/2 cans water (rinse out the cans with water then pour it in.)
--Cook the cabbage in water, boiling for about 15-20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain the water into a bowl to use to rinse the cans, let cool, then separate the leaves into piles of "use one", "needs two", or "scraps" for the leaves that fall apart which can be used to line bottom of the pot.
--Saute the onions and celery in the butter/oil, until soft.
--Put the meat, rice and eggs into a large bowl and add the cooked veggies. Mix it all up with your hands, making sure to blend everything together well.
--Using the cabbage leaves, put large spoonfuls of meat mixture into a leaf and fold it over, like an envelope to cover the meat. When all mixture is used up, put the scraps into a large pot (may need 2--use the one you cooked the cabbage in.)
--Cover the golabki with the cans of tomato soup and the water. The liquid should come up to the top of the pot and cover them all.
--Bring to a boil then lower heat to keep it bubbling, but not burning.
--Cook for 2 hours, checking often to add more water as needed.
--Serve with mashed potatoes or hearty rye bread.
For the next author on the Round Robin list, go see what the favorite food is of: Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/