Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Old-world microwave recipes

IMG_5717_1Last night I could have melted in the heat in my apartment. I didn't sleep all that well because of it. But I must have slept a little because my alarm found me in the middle of a dream filled with friendly strangers with malleable faces made of putty. I was running my hands through their hair.

2:00 found me waking up in my chair at work and then stumbling downstairs in search of coffee. In the kitchen at work there's instant or preground or whatever the hell kind of stuff comes out of cans. You know the stuff that might smell vaguely like coffee but isn't really? I can't drink that stuff.

My parents were the first people we knew who ground their own coffee beans and that's what I was raised on. I made the mistake at the coffee shop of not specifying that I wanted dark blend coffee and ended up with the default medium, which is terrible, like water, only off.

I like my coffee tall, dark and handsome.

I've been craving cabbage rolls a lot lately, but alas, I am out and I'm not going to have another until at least September. You can buy them at the store, but storebought is not nearly as good as homemade. I remember one time we had Christmas dinner at my grandma's and by coincidence both my mom and my aunt's mother-in-law brought casserole dishes full of them. Mom's cabbage rolls are melt-in-your-mouth good and the other lady's tasted like beef and rice rolled in cabbage with Campbell's tomato soup poured on them. They're just not the same.

The recipe came all the way from Ukraine, which is why it's so good. It's written out in Katarina Gutjahr's own hand and is titled "grandma Katie's baked beans." It sits beside the other treasured, hundred-year old recipes like mom's secret microwave Christmas candy, passed down from generation to generation.

What? You don't believe that German Russians had microwaves in the old country? It's true, I tell you.