I’m not afraid to admit that I do a terrible job celebrating my food heritage. I always vow to celebrate Oktoberfest (which in Germany is celebrated the last week in September) but quite frankly, I’m not a huge beer drinker, and sausages and potatoes just don’t make the cut as my favorite foods. So the years keep passing me by and no heritage is celebrated. Those summer brats don’t count – they fall under Wisconsin heritage, not German.
Oktoberfest was originally a celebration of Prince Ludwig and Princess Saxe-Hildburghausen’s wedding, where they organized a large horse race. The event was so much fun they decided to make it a yearly event. As the years went on, the celebration grew and shifted to the beer tents and strong brews we think of today. This year, 200 years after the first Oktoberfest, it was my turn to celebrate!
My search for German recipes was frustrating to say the least – potatoes, sausage and a ridiculous amount of cakes are exactly the reasons I haven’t celebrated in years. In fact I almost started to take it as a sign. But when I started to think about passing on my own food traditions, I think that my food heritage – however small it is in my life and kitchen- is something I’ll want to pass on to my children. So we ended up with beer-boiled (0bviously) sausage (Würstl) and some braised red cabbage. Not quite the German meal that I had imagined, but one that tasted great and would have my ancestors proud. I hope.
Braised Red Cabbage 3-4 servings
- 1/2 red cabbage
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
Thinly slice red cabbage, onions and mince garlic.
Heat oil in large pan and add onions to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until golden brown.
Add cabbage, garlic vinegar and fennel to pan. Toss ingredients and cover.
Cook for about 10 minutes, then turn heat down to low. Cook for another 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Just be sure to include a cold beer – it wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest celebration without it.