Friday, December 13, 2013

Secret Subject Swap: Buried Treasure

Welcome to another Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

SSS Take 2


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:



My subject is: You’re gardening in your back yard one day and while digging a substantial hole for a rose bush, you find an old, exotic wooden box you’ve never laid eyes on before. You pry it open. What do you find? It was submitted by: Writer B is Me.

I’m going to start this post at the end.

What I found in that exotic wooden box is someone’s old family recipes. Don’t roll your eyes, bear with me, I have a story I want to tell you. It’s true and it’s worth hearing.


Crockpot Stuffed Cabbage, Lasagne Style - bakinginatornado.com
Crockpot Stuffed Cabbage Lasagna

You know that Baking In A Tornado has a facebook page, right? I started the page a little over a year ago to promote my blog posts and leave my personal page open for more personal things. But never ever would I have imagine not just how having a blog has changed my life (see A Gift), but how having a facebook page has too.

One day, quite a while ago, I got a private message on that page from a woman who made one of my recipes, the Potato Crusted Meatloaf. Her message is posted (with her permission) in Dear Baking. She took the time to tell me that her husband has a chronic illness, had lost his appetite, but when she made the meatloaf he had seconds. This epitomizes the reason I share recipes. It’s about the connections.

But the story doesn’t end there. Cathy remains a frequent commenter on my facebook page, but she and I keep in touch via private message as well. One day, a few months ago, she told me about a family wedding where the entire family got together and made her daughter-in-law’s grandmother’s Stuffed Cabbage. Everyone together in a room making a beloved family recipe. I imagined them talking and laughing and prepping as cooking is meant to be done, with love.

And the cabbage used had been grown by Cathy and her husband in their garden.

She gave me the recipe and I asked her if I could play with it a little. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to her daughter-in-law’s family, but I believe that recipes should be adjusted to fit your taste or your time availability or the level of your cooking ability.

I didn’t change the ingredients at all. That’s my nod to Jonna’s history. I just adapted it for the crockpot so you can put it in and go. I also deconstructed it and made it layered “lasagna style” to cut down on the prep time.

To me, this recipe is a one dish dinner, easily done in a crockpot and left alone to cook for the day. More than that, it’s a great way to get a vegetable into a child. It’s a flavorful but mild and creamy version of Stuffed Cabbage that doesn’t have the tang that some other versions have that might not work as well with small children.

And now, thanks to someone who had been a stranger, Cathy’s family and mine are connected. Through a recipe.

This is the reason that, of all the things I could have imagined finding in this old exotic wooden box, I chose recipes. Because whether we change them up or make them exactly as is, family recipes are a connection to our past, our family, our history. Putting your stamp on them just enhances the story. Making them for others and sharing them is a gift. They are truly a treasure.

*A version of this piece was posted on The Huffington Post as Living in a Social Media World: The Person Behind That Screen is Real  on 1-20-15.

Bakinginatornado.com

PS: My heartfelt thanks to Cathy and Jonna.

Crockpot Stuffed Cabbage Lasagna
                               ©www.BakingInATorndao.com
                                                                                                                                               
 Printable Recipe
 
Ingredients:
3 lbs ground beef
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, seasoned salt to taste
1 pkg Rice-a-Roni, Spanish flavor
1 can diced tomatoes (needed to make the Rice-a- Roni)
2 lg (26 oz each) cans condensed tomato soup
1 cup sour cream
1 head cabbage; wash, wrap in plastic wrap, freeze and defrost
 
Directions:
*Cook Rice-a-Roni according to package directions.
*Mix the beef, onion soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, seasoned salt, cooked rice, and ½ cup of the tomato soup.
*Wisk together the rest of the tomato soup and the sour cream.
*Cut out the core of the cabbage and separate the leaves. OPT: If you want the leaves to sit flatter, you can slice about 1 ½ inches up from the bottom but it’s not necessary.
*Spray your crockpot with non-stick spray. Put in enough soup/sour cream mixture to cover the bottom, then put in a layer of cabbage overlapping to cover the entire bottom. Spread half of the meat mixture over the cabbage, followed by 1/3 of the soup/sour cream mixture. Repeat the layers; cabbage, the rest of the meat, another 1/3 of the soup mixture.
*Top with a final layer of cabbage and then the rest of the soup mixture.
*Cook on high for 3 hours, then lower to low for 2 hours.
NOTE: Crockpot sizes and heat levels differ, you may need to adjust this recipe slightly to accommodate yours.
 

40 comments:

  1. It's difficult to type with the tears clouding my vision. I love it, and you. ♥

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you approve, Cathy. We had this dinner again last night and we all love it.

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  2. That's the BEST thing to find in a mysterious box! Amazing response to my prompt! I'm so tickled that you got mine! Okay, two things I'm excited to tell about: 1) I bought the ingredients for the strawberry cookies yesterday and we're making them today or tomorrow! I'll post photos to FB fo sho! 2) I LOVE crockpot recipes, and this one is literally making my stomach growl right now! I'm so gonna try it. It reminds me of some German ones I've tried....maybe that's the cabbage speaking, but I'm so hungry right now...grrrrr!

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    Replies
    1. Can't wait to see your pics. I love that you share them. Have fun with the recipes.

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  3. When I first saw that picture, I thought "Oh yummo!!!" Reading the story behind it makes me wish I wasn't the only person in my house that liked cabbage. What a beautiful story to share! Love it!

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    Replies
    1. I just love the story myself. So glad I got a chance to share it.

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  4. Sounds good. I'm already thinking of the little tweaks I'll do to lighten it a little. What good recipes are about!

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    Replies
    1. Hope you do try it, and if you do be sure to let me know.

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  5. What a sweet story!
    I agree that old family recipes don't need to be changed, tweaked to fit the crock pot makes it just that much more out of sight.
    I'm not a big cabbage gal but this looks delicious and my family will flip for it.
    Love this Swap subject!
    This recipe is a treasure indeed.

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    Replies
    1. I love that the Swap gave me a perfect opportunity to tell this story. And I have to tell you that we're not big cabbage eaters either, but this dish really is great.

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  6. I'd take a box of recipes too, along with someone willing to make them! I love this story! Thank you for sharing-once again a perfect example of how the internet can bring people together!

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    Replies
    1. I had no idea what I was missing out on before I started a blog and joined FB. But there's no question that for me it's all about the connections.

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  7. I love everything about this. This is the GOOD in FB and every other social media outlet. For all the crap and BS there are so many stories of connecting!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I didn't even start to roll my eyes by the way…:-)

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    Replies
    1. So glad you didn't roll your eyes. I really think this was a story worth telling.

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  8. Oh my goodness Karen! You make me want to cry! As much as I don't like cooking, you make it sound absolutely astounding. And I can remember Christmases many years ago with my mother's family, with lots of ladies in the kitchen, laughing, arguing...those are treasured memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are treasured moments. Without a doubt that's why the kitchen is the heart of the home.

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  9. What a precious story and wonderful recipe!
    My parents were the only children in their families and my grandparents all died before I was born. The only family recipe was for Hungarian goulash on Christmas Eve, and it was a recipe only shared with the men in our family. I think that's why it hurts so much to not have anyone to hand my recipes down to...which makes me all the more grateful for having friends like you in my life, Karen. I love you ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so sad that you have no family recipes. I hope you start some great traditions of your own. ♥

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  10. Great story! This weekend me, my mom, my sister and my nieces will get together and make the manicotti for Christmas Eve. It is an assembly line of crepes and cheese and gravy!

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    Replies
    1. What a great tradition. I bet you all spend the day laughing.

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  11. Growing up in an Italian family on mom's side I remember all my aunts and mom having a box with all their recipes in it. Brings back memories.

    Every holiday and family event my aunt made this amazing creamcheese cake with blueberries on top. Yum.

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    Replies
    1. Ooh, I'd sure love to get my hands on your aunt's recipe!

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  12. Great Story. Great Connection. What it's all about!!! Have a great weekend, Slu

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    Replies
    1. Such a wonderful added bonus to having a blog. I never could have imagined.

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  13. Food love is what it's all about. Family recipes are great because you get to taste exactly what grandma or grandpa made back in the day. Yes, you can tweek it here or there but at least the generations to come will be able to see how everyone else done it. Then they can make it to their taste.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Food is about so much more than just eating.

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  14. This is a beautiful story, I loved it. It great how the recipe brought your families together... that's what it is all about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. This is exactly why I keep this blog going, why I keep sharing food.

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  15. How lovely, Karen. So glad you made the connection with Cathy - that's what blogging should be about.

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    Replies
    1. I love all the people I've "met" and the connections I've made. I feel very lucky.

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  16. Awwwww…I love this post. So true how a recipe can connect families--even through time. I make a lot of the dishes my great grandmother used to make. I never knew her but I feel a certain kinship when I make her cakes or casseroles. This recipe looks delicious---I love crockpot recipes and am always looking for something new. This is the first I have seen with cabbage so I will be making this during the busy holidays for sure!

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    Replies
    1. I completely understand how you feel about your great grandmother's recipes, making them is like keeping in touch with our family history.

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  17. Replies
    1. It really was. I'm so glad I made the connection to this family and was honored that they shared the original recipe with me.

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  18. So wish I could eat this. It sounds so delicious! Unfortunately I'm allergic to tomatoes. I will share the recipe though. 😀

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    Replies
    1. Sorry it won't work for you but thanks for sharing.

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  19. What a beautiful story! I love that you took a treasure and continued the love in which it was given by sharing it with us.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Betsy. This story really inspires me, I'm so lucky to have been a part of it.

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  20. Just my kind of story! And I love the creativity of turning it into a crockpot lasagna!

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    Replies
    1. I love how many connections I've made through this blog. This story is a great example of why.

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