23 October 2008

Dialogue: Sauerkraut

On Monday, the big news in the convent was that they had bought a lot of cabbage in order to make sauerkraut on Wednesday. So on Wednesday, as I was leaving, I went to try to find someone to let them know I was heading out, and let us imagine a scene something like this:

Sr. A: They're making cabbage sour downstairs. Do you make it at home [in America]?
Self: No, we buy it already made.
Sr. A: [disapproving look] Here, let's go downstairs so you can see it! [disapproval turns to excitement]
[We go downstairs.]
Everyone: Mária!!!
[I see a young man in special rubber boots stomping on shredded cabbage. Think something like this picture, except that what I'm witnessing is about as Slavic as things can get. This means, among other things, that the sense of humor is different.]
[In another room, two of the younger sisters are shredding cabbage with a manual meat slicer, and the cabbage is falling into one of those industrial-sized rolling canvas laundry bins. The stamped cabbage is being put into large glazed terracotta crocks with dried dill and chunks of onions.]
Everyone: Do you do this in America?
Self: No, we buy it already made.
Everyone: [disapproving looks all around]
Sr. M: That's what's wrong with America. Because you all buy sauerkraut, you don't make it.
Self: Right, this whole crisis is because we buy sauerkraut.
[Laughs all around.]
Sr. A: Alright, end of the excursion. Have a good trip!!

The whole making cabbage thing was an all-day activity which required everyone's help. If I didn't have a train to catch, it would have been a pleasure to help out and really learn how to do it. Grocery stores have had these crocks for sale for the last month or so, they're definitely a seasonal item, competing now with Christmas decorations.

1 comment:

leslie said...

I'm amused to think that my Sonic Wall filter service here at school blocked a picture of the saurkraut making process in a convent. There's got to be a joke in there somewhere!