Tuesday Must Mean Kind of German

As I mentioned, this week I’m taking on meal planning 1940s-style courtesy of What Shall I Serve by Letta W. Hesse. I will give you a bit of foreshadowing—this was the best meal of the week. And, I hate to say it because you will probably think me a pedestrian type of Pole (that’s Polish person, not an actual pole). Only because it contains sauerkraut. And, I don’t want to give you the impression that I love sauerkraut (but I kind of do… there, I’ve admitted it… fermented cabbage is tasty).

This meal basically takes a stove top stock pot and makes it into a slow cooker. So, yes, you could make this in a slow cooker without too many changes.

Tuesday Night Menu

Sauerkraut with meat and dumplings, mashed potatoes, corn sticks, golden salad, fruit cobbler, and coffee

Sauerkraut with Meat

(I eschewed the dumplings)

Spareribs are usually cooked with sauerkraut but other meats, such as fresh pork, loin or ham may be used. (I went with spareribs.) Use about 4 C sauerkraut to 3 lbs meat. Spareribs and sauerkraut make a very delicious dish if cooked in their own moisture. Place sugar cured ham rinds, skin side up, in bottom of heavy kettle. (I didn’t have sugar cured ham, so I placed a few pieces of bacon on the bottom of the pan and sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar.) Add layer of sliced onions, and then alternate layers of spareribs and sauerkraut seasoned with salt and pepper. Cover tightly to avoid the escape of steam and cook very slowly until done (about 3 hours).

I used the juice from the sauerkraut jar and brought everything to a bit of a boil. (It was hard to see the water/juice bubbling at the bottom, but you can hear it bubble.) Then, I covered and turned the heat down.

Sauerkraut and spare ribs in pot

Mashed Potatoes

Pare and boil 6 medium-sized potatoes until soft but not mealy. Drain, put through ricer, or mash thoroughly. (I riced.) Add 2 T butter, ¼ C hot milk and salt and pepper to taste. Beat vigorously until light and creamy. Serve at once.

Results

Fall of the bone tasty when it came to the spareribs… but that’s hard not to have happen when you cook them in vinegary cabbage for three hours. The mashed potatoes are of the basic variety. So, a very meat and potatoes type of meal.

Sauerkraut and potatoes on a plate

And, for those of you who wondered about corn sticks… they’re apparently corn bread made into the shape of corn stalks. You get this effect by pouring corn bread batter into a mold that looks like corn stalks. I don’t have such a mold (hint hint) so obviously couldn’t make corn sticks. But, fear not, I made the gold salad.

Golden Salad

  • 1 package lemon flavored gelatin
  • 1½ C grated raw carrots
  • 1½ C crushed pineapple, drained (some juice reserved)

Prepare lemon gelatin according to direction on the package, using the pineapple juice for part of the liquid. When the gelatin begins to set, add the carrots and pineapple. Place in a large mold or in individual molds. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp lettuce, garnish with mayonnaise or cream mayonnaise and strips of green pepper.

Results

My mother I am not. A child of the ’50s and a mother of children in the ’70s and ’80s, that woman can whip out a Jell-o with any number of fruits and vegetables. In fact, during the preparation of this dish, I called her for advice on when to add the carrots and pineapple. I followed her instructions and this is the result:

Golden Salad

I didn’t even bother with the mayo dressing or strips of green pepper, that’s how depressed I was about this floppy slidey mess. But, guess what? This one wasn’t my fault OR my mother’s fault. But, rather the recipe’s fault. Let’s talk science for a second: Pineapple contains enzymes that eat up proteins. The reason Jell-o is all giggly and semi-solid is because of the protein it contains. Add the pineapple and that protein gets gobbled before i has a chance to form a nice structure. So, yee haw… a kitchen disaster that’s not on me. (And, just for the record… carrots have no business on the inside of Jell-o.)

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  1. #1 by Greg N. on 11.26.2012 - 11:36 am

    How ironic. I am silently chuckling and somewhat amazed at your ‘golden salad’ expose. That very dish has been a staple at every Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever eaten where my mom or I have been the cook. The only difference in our recipe is that we use orange jello and have added canned mandarin oranges. Oh – we also collectively vetoed the shredded carrots in the late 70’s. There was also that one year when someone thought Walnuts would improve it. It did not. We had our Thanksgiving this past Sunday, as my folks were out visiting. We actually had a discussion about the origins of this jello ‘salad’. My mom got it from her mom, who potentially might have got it from Letta. Too funny. I’ve got half a pyrex dish filled with the wonderful stuff right in my fridge right now! Cheers – Greg

    • #2 by e.marie on 11.27.2012 - 5:36 pm

      i am so glad you told me about the walnuts… because as i was eating it, i thought “this definitely needs nuts” i stand corrected on that thought… and i am a HUGE fan of mandarin oranges in jell-o of any kind… (or straight out of the can)

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