About once a year, I get a hankering for brisket and cabbage. I believe it is something only old people appreciate but I am a relative rookie at preparing that meal. My stepfather, now 90, is a five star brisket and cabbage chef. He sets the bar high. I assume that should I live to be 90, I will surely become a brisket and cabbage adept, too.
Last week I decided I would fix brisket and cabbage one evening, though it would mean a fairly late meal. It would be worth the wait. I put the brisket on as soon as I got home from work, and then chopped the cabbage to add a bit later. Everything went well, and before long the cabbage was bubbling away in the kettle over a low flame. I estimated I would be able to eat about 7:30 and that would have been true - except I made a tactical error.
I stretched out on the sofa to watch a movie. When I woke two hours later, I rushed to the stove. When I removed the lid, the meat was falling apart and looked delicious... nested amid the entirely blackened cabbage. Apparently, the flame was so low that it simply boiled the cabbage dry and then turned it to charcoal without ever setting off the fire alarms. The dogs did not mind the brisket, though there was hardly enough to divide for them. It took two nights of scrubbing to get the cabbage carbon removed from my favorite kettle. The smell of burnt cabbage lingers yet in my house, even though twice I have opened the doors and windows in an effort to fill the place with fresh, but frigid, air.
I wrote to my 24 year old nephew. I told him people know when they are getting too damn old. "First, they begin to like cabbage, then they let it burn in the kettle."
He does not appreciate the valuable wisdom I freely share with him!