I, Chef

by Marinka on October 20, 2009

Last spring I made stuffed cabbage, based on a recipe in Pauline’s post.  It was such a fantastic success that a mere five months later I was ready to try another one of her recipes.

Luckily for me, Pauline recently added a recipe for Bigos, a national dish of Poland. According to Pauline, I never studied about it in school.  Or heard Lech Walesa say one word about it.

I looked over the recipe for a few days, and then I was ready.  I was going to make it for my family.  Because if there’s anything that says “I love you!” and “Say thank you after your meal, you ingrates!” it’s Bigos.

The night before, I reread the recipe, studied Julie’s very funnyl post about her own Bigos making experience and realized that Julie had an excellent point.    Pauline doesn’t seem to include quantities.  So I emailed her and asked.  Because I need to know how many pigs I should be slaughtering.    And she explained that it’s sort of a “poor man’s strew” and that you have to use what’s in your refrigerator.


Now I have to find poor people and take their meat from them?  That sounds completely exhausting and unfriendly.  I live in the West Village,  and at $7.99 per, I need to know how many pounds of pork to get.  (Pauline finally relented and told me “2”).

I was excited to make the national dish of Poland, and feel at one with its people.  But as I was falling asleep, I emotionally sat up in bed.

The recipe called for sauerkraut.  Where was I going to get it?

“Listen,” I explained the whole thing to Husbandrinka. “Any ideas where I can get sauerkraut?”

“They have it in the supermarket,” he said.  I admired his wisdom until I realized that it was a non-answer. I mean, what else was he going to say? “They have it at Macy’s?”

“Where specifically in the supermarket?”

“In the freezer,” he was going strong.  “Next to the green beans.”

“I don’t think so,” I told him. Because I’ve never heard of frozen sauerkraut, and I think Pauline would have mentioned such a thing.  But I also thought that she’d mention quantities of meat, so what do I know?

To make this post slightly less War and Peaceish– the sauerkraut was in the special hot dog and condiments section of the supermarket and the meal was a huge success.

Thanks, Pauline! I can’t wait for our the next culinary adventure!


The winner of the Big Apple Circus Tickets Giveaway is Sukanya!  Congratulations. Please email your mailing address to me.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

October 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I plan to make this, too, sometime soon. But you know, you also could have made your own sauerkraut. I recently found a recipe for making it, if you’re up to the challenge. 😉

I’m glad it was a successful meal!


Ann's Rants October 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Aside from being brilliant, you are also apparently psychic.

I finally needed to know for myself wtf Biggos are.

I still don’t know, but it sounds peasant-y.


Denise October 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Yum, you just brought me back to my mom’s stuffed cabbage. I never make it, maybe I should. Oh and frozen sauerkraut. Hmmm, wouldn’t of been my first guess.


JulieBouf October 20, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I am very proud of you, but also very embarrassed. I’ve had a crockpot for years. I know where the broiler is on both of my oven compartments, and yet it sounds like you had a way less painful cooking process with this one than I.


Marinka October 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm

First of all, what are both over compartments? Other than a good way for you to show off? But second of all, I think I really benefited from your experience. For example, when you told me that I didn’t need to get eight pounds of meat? Priceless!


JulieBouf October 21, 2009 at 12:16 am

LOL – yes, we have 2 side-by-side ovens. It was my husband’s dream item, while I got to get my jacuzzi whirltub for the bath. We did a big remodel that was completed a year ago – after 1 year of construction – exactly one week before I got laid off from my very secure job. And now – I have no cleaning lady. Double the house – and noone to freaking clean. The board of health will be called in soon.


Kirsten October 20, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Hmmmm. My dinner invite must have been lost in the mail.


October 21, 2009 at 12:11 am

Was it a huge success or are you being sarcastic again? I don’t mind the truth. My parents have taught me how to deal with criticism by scowling me with their right ways on an every day basis. I. Can. Handle. It.


Marinka October 21, 2009 at 6:11 am

Truly. It was delicious. And I wish I made more so we’d have leftovers. It fed the five of us, and my daughter had a friend for dinner who looked sad when I put a lettuce leaf on her plate, so I had to dole some out for her too.

I’m surprised that I never heard of this dish, because as a glutton, I pride myself on knowing about food.
But I’ll definitely make it again. Probably next week~


neena October 21, 2009 at 7:41 am

Saurkraut is a staple in our house. It’s our traditional New Years Day cuisine.

I’ve seen saurkraut come in a bag and a jar…never frozen, my friend.


Jodi October 21, 2009 at 8:25 am

Is Maura seriously making her own sauerkraut? Whoa. I just buy it in a can.


Madge October 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

I cook for my family once a month. Whether they need it or not.


Braja October 21, 2009 at 9:31 am

Damn you and your giveaway cheating scams. Damn you, I say….


October 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I’m always suspicious of stews that involve both Lech Walesa AND pork (the last one I made like that tasted a bit like peoples’ uprising against the Cruel Bonds of Communism, followed by a pinch of martial repression) but I’m glad that it turned out well for you. Bon apetit!


Heather, Queen of Shake Shake October 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I have a friend who also makes her own sauerkraut. She’s scary too. Don’t let them trick you into making it, Marinka! Next thing you’ll be doing is wearing skirts with crinoline slips.


October 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm

alternate titles for post: iChef; sour crowds, war & peas, swine stu.


October 21, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Peaches and scream. I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to write that.


Maureen@IslandRoar October 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Why, WHY would someone make their own sauerkraut, unless they were showing off, right?
I am so impressed your children will eat such an “exotic” dish. My kids won’t eat sauerkraut on a flipping hotdog, let alone stuffed in cabbage. You are obviously doing a better job.


Marinka October 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Maura is a total show off, so good call on that.

And since you are forcing me to be completely honest, which really goes against everything that I believe, I have to tell you that my son would not touch anything that isn’t chicken or a meatball. So I just edit him out of all culinary blog posts to make myself look better and everyone else feel worse about their parenting.


Jessica October 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm

I will never get to experience cabbage anything. Apparently the smell causes an instant gag reflex in my husband (though I’ve never *actually* seen it).


Marinka October 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Hey, maybe he’s outgrown the gag reflex. You should probably make him some cabbage to check. Regularly.


frogmama October 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Save yourself a lot of sweat and time and just microwave some frozen waffles. Ghetto and fun for the whole family!


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