I’m in a sentimental mood. Both of my sons are moving out soon. Michael, in a week, and Jack two weeks later. “Who am I going to cook for now?” I complain to my husband. Thinking quickly he replied, “I guess I don’t have to eat.”
He doesn’t understand. I love cooking for him but there is something magical for me when I cook for a crowd. I didn’t just cook for the family, but for their girlfriends, friends, and anyone else who just showed up at our dinner table. Now I’m thinking I’m going to have to learn how to cook just for two. Oh, the nightmare of it all.
Yet, I do know I still have events, friends’ parties, and the women’s shelter who I can experiment with and bring my creative dishes. I will make sure to freeze some meals so that I can bring them to the boys. Though they did promise to visit us often, hah, I still better freeze the feasts for them.
Now I know how my mother must have felt. She had five children who eventually moved out of her house. My mother loved to cook, or at least I think she did. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that she was an adventurous cook. And if you made yourself not think about some of the ingredients she decided to use in her cooking, then you were in for a treat. There was one dish she made that even she couldn’t eat. It was okra stew. Oh, man, I’m not sure what went wrong, but not only did the stew slide down your throat, it left a slimy path going down that you just couldn’t swallow away.
Thinking about my mom and the boys, I started to go through my mother’s recipe box. The index cards are old, yellow and stained, but you can still make out her almost illegible handwriting. Some of the recipes just list ingredients, to my chagrin, as I have had to try to recreate these dishes just by what she listed and by taste. I’m not sure where they all came from, but I know some are from old family recipes, others she created, and some from her old friends. These aren’t the ones from magazines where she used to make the recipe once and cross it off. These recipes are those that she wanted to keep and pass down. I just wish she had written the directions on some of them!
The following Sauerbraten recipe is from her recipe box. I remember as a child loving the German dinners my mother would cook. I once asked her why she didn’t cook more German food, and she said because that is what she grew up on and wanted to venture out. I can’t blame her for that as I do the same thing. I hope you enjoy the sauerbraten.
4-6 lb. pot roast (chuck or rump)
2 onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup red wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ lb. butter
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup four
1 cup of marinade
2/3 cup red wine
Place pot roast in earthenware bowl with onions, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and salt. Then pour vinegar, water, and red wine over meat. Let marinate 3 days or more in refrigerator. Turn meat twice a day with two wooden spoons. Keep in refrigerator (my addition as mother’s recipe says in a cool place). When ready to cook, heat heavy skillet with butter and oil. Drain meat and brown it thoroughly on all sides. Add marinade but not enough to cover the meat. Cover and simmer slowly 3-4 hours or until tender. Take meat out and cover. Reserve 1 cup of the marinade.
To make gravy, melt the butter in pan over medium heat. Add sugar and flour to make a roux. Keep stirring until the mixture has darkened. Slowly add the reserved marinade and red wine. Continue to cook until the gravy is thickened. Strain.