Pigs-in-a-blanket were another of those dishes that evoked a spring of joy in youth, when the aroma of the sweet and sour tomato sauce tickled olfactory nerve on entry through the door or out one’s room – up there with the pork roast with Polynesian bbq, or spinach pie. As has been noted, the latter carried risk of grievous explosion and Mexican food, and memories of pork roast — that it always took much longer to thoroughly cook than expected: That, then, left all to stare wantonly in great appetence at empty salad plates while Dad repeatedly leaned back to look in the oven – and irritably barked at his dull-witted son with the annoying habit of falling face to plate to clean the dressing from thereon.
No such turmoil accompanied the little cabbage rolls. They were always cooked in the big red pot – ceramic-lined, oblong Betty Crocker roasting pot, the name emblazoned on the handle of the lid: Well-worn red on the exterior and chipped, discolored white inside. Many times the lid was tipped as it rested on the stove, just to confirm the smell was true, to peek inside at the little bundles, rolled and bathed in tell-tale tomato. The strangest thing, that as much as these were anticipated and enjoyed, they were always destroyed – the carefully rolled cabbage peeled away to reveal the meat filling, that pressed and sloshed in the tangy sauce, and cabbage carcass cast away.
The last time Mom made golabki was the last time they were eaten, but they’ve risen in conversation on a number of occasions as of late – one reason or another – and with the talk of properly prepared pierogis, it seemed an ideal time to have a go. The recipe’s not difficult, but credit to Mom for working full-time and still putting a delicious and not the simplest meal on the table every night: The kids still await that day to come. Delicious, that is – simple they get.
The sauce fit perfectly into that of memory – the filling, of course, is looser than recalled, but fairly close in flavor. Adding some sort of congealitive – like an egg, or ener-g, or gluten – might pull it all together, more like that remembered,