STEWED BEETS.—Bake beets according to recipe No. 2. Peel, cut in slices, turn into a saucepan, nearly cover with thin cream, simmer for ten or fifteen minutes, add salt if desired, and thicken the gravy with a little corn starch or flour.
DESCRIPTION.—The common white garden cabbage is one of the oldest of cultivated vegetables. A variety of the plant known as red cabbage was the delight of ancient gourmands more than eighteen centuries ago. The Egyptians adored it, erected altars to it, and made it the first dish at their repasts. In this they were imitated by the Greeks and Romans.
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, considered the cabbage one of the most valuable of remedies, and often prescribed a dish of boiled cabbage to be eaten with salt for patients suffering with violent colic. Erasistratus looked upon it as a sovereign remedy against paralysis, while Cato in his writings affirmed it to be a panacea for all diseases, and believed the use the Romans made of it to have been the means whereby they were able, during six hundred years, to do without the assistance of physicians, whom they had expelled from their territory. The learned philosopher, Pythagoras, composed books in which he lauded its wonderful virtues.
The Germans are so fond of cabbage that it enters into the composition of a majority of their culinary products. The cabbage was first raised in England about 1640, by Sir Anthony Ashley. That this epoch, important to the English horticultural and culinary world, may never be forgotten, a cabbage is represented upon Sir Anthony’s monument.
The nutritive value of the cabbage is not high, nearly ninety per cent being water; but it forms an agreeable variety in the list of vegetable foods, and is said to possess marked antiscorbutic virtue. It is, however, difficult of digestion, and therefore not suited to weak stomachs. It would be impossible to sustain life for a lengthened period upon cabbage, since to supply the body with sufficient food elements, the quantity would exceed the rate of digestion and the capacity of the stomach.
M. Chevreul, a French scientist, has ascertained that the peculiar odor given off during the boiling of cabbage is due to the disengagement of sulphureted hydrogen. Cabbage is said to be more easily digested raw than cooked.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.—A good cabbage should have a well-developed, firm head, with fresh, crisp leaves, free from worm-holes and decayed portions. To prepare for cooking, stalk, shake well to free from dirt, and if there are any signs of insects, lay in cold salted water for an hour or so to drive them out. Rinse away the salt water, and if to be boiled, drop into a small quantity of boiling water. Cover closely and boil vigorously until tender. If cooked slowly, it will be watery and stringy, while overdone cabbage is especially insipid and flavorless.