Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley comes to grip with having too much of a good thing.
Veteran grocery shoppers have undoubtedly realized as fact for a long time what it takes amateur shoppers, such as myself, to understand: Some food items go on sale during certain times of the year. While an amazing revelation to me, it’s knowledge with which my wife, Nancy, was probably born.
Recently I found myself being asked by my bride how I’d feel about a meal of corned beef and cabbage sometime around St. Pat’s Day. And while I’m not “high octane” Irish, I’m sure there’s a little Irish blood flowing through the family trees on both Nancy’s and my side of the family. Consequently, I gave a hearty thumbs up to her suggestion, although I requested rather than cooking the cabbage it be made into cole slaw.
Nancy would return from the grocery store with mixed news. Apparently there’s a lot of Irish in Hannibal because all the corned beef was gone by the time Nancy made it to the store.
On the positive side, there was an ample supply of cabbage to be had and Nancy returned home with a particularly large head of the vegetable. No problem since there would be both Nancy and I to eat the ample amount of cole slaw the head would produce. Our teen-age daughter Anna would rather go on a bread-and-water diet than eat cole slaw.
It was at about this time that we received a phone call from my son, Jacob. After inviting us up to his Wisconsin home for the weekend to meet our newest grandchild, Jacob called a day or two later to see if we could expedite our trip north.
With the duration of our visit expected to last more than a couple of days, it was obvious that I would be staying in river city and grandma would be going solo.
As Nancy hurriedly packed her bags for the trip, she gave me an assortment of instructions, ranging from making sure the car she wasn’t taking made it to the shop for four new tires, to what I’d find in the refrigerator in the way of food. Included on the provisions list was the head of cabbage that was now my responsibility to convert into cole slaw.
As has been well documented in this space over the years, I’m not much of a cook. Typically if left on my own, meal menus will frequently consist of little more than Raisin Bran and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. However, in this instance I was given specific instructions to deal with the head of cabbage before its green leaves began to turn brown.
With Nancy leaving on a Wednesday, I did my best to ignore the head of cabbage every time I opened the refrigerator door on Thursday and Friday, telling myself making cole slaw would be a good Saturday project.
Because Nancy had not only made a point of showing me where the grater was, but which side to use when grating the cabbage head, I lost not one, but two potential excuses to not carry through with my assignment.
During our 38 years of marriage, Nancy has frequently told me she likes my broad hands. But when it came time to hold the cabbage head in one hand while grating it, I found myself wishing I had a far bigger “paw.”
Eventually I managed to get the head grated down to its core. What remained was not one, but two large containers filled with grated cabbage.
“Oh my word! What am I going to do with all of this?” I asked myself. “I could feed everybody with all the cole slaw I’m about to have.”
At about that time I picked up the telephone and called Wisconsin to ask my bride how much mayonnaise I would need to finish my project.
Nancy also stressed not to convert all the cabbage into cole slaw at once so it would last a bit longer.
As of this writing, I’ve gone through one container and have another waiting. After treating myself to cole slow at about every meal, I can’t begin to tell you how weary I am of it. I don’t think I’ll want to see cole slaw again until at least St. Pat’s Day 2015.