The Mysteries of Cabbage | Halas Časopis studentů Fakulty sociálních studií. 32. ročník

The Mysteries of Cabbage

Do rubriky Okénka napsala Dr. Alan Marshall (Pátek, 15. březen 2013)

Oliver Cromwell, Vladimir Lenin, Nelson Mandela. Why do no photographs exist of these men consuming cabbage?

In these eco-friendly and health-conscious times, it is perhaps not considered polite to arbitrarily criticize any kind of ‚Green‘ organism but let’s face it; cabbage is certainly the most vile tasting foodstuff in the entire universe. Just a wee whiff of it bubbling fetidly away in a cooking pot is enough to make me gag.

There are many ways to prepare this food of torture, of course. I’ve been served cabbage as a mushed-up pasty soup in an Oxfordshire countryside pub. I’ve been presented cabbage shredded into tiny bits and pickled a sunset orange color whilst at a mountain ski resort in the Austrian Alps. I’ve had it boiled relentlessly and served on a cheese baguette with a Bacardi and coke at a beach bar in Australia. But no matter what you may choose to do to cabbage, it stubbornly remains engorged with a detestable vile palate.

In Eastern Europe, I’ve tried many times to unwrap the pale green slimey vegetation from the strangled bits of pork or rice that cabbage leaves habitually blanket but all those disgusting flavenoid poisons within the cabbage seem to seep into and taint whatever they may touch.

The only place in the world where I could remotely consider myself to say “I enjoy eating cabbage” is in South East Asia. But that’s because they serve it in tiny tiny portions and hide it with other, far more pleasing vegetables, all drowned with exceedingly rich exotic spices.

The ancient scholar Pliny the Elder is noted as advertising the medicinal properties of cabbage and he recommended it as a prophylactic against drunkenness. I do not believe this to be useful advice at all, since the first thing I usually have to do after consuming cabbage is to down a quick few shots of whisky to get the vile cabbage taste off my tongue.

Despite these facts, it seems to remain a popular dish in Europe and its colonies. I hypothesize that the prime reason for this is the use of cabbage as a parenting tool. Most children would happily go through the whole week obeying their parents’ every whim just so they could be allowed the one misdemeanor associated with not eating their cabbage at dinner time.

I have a further hypothesis: those children that positively refuse to eat their cabbage go on to become great revolutionaries.

Thusly: Cromwell, Lenin, Mandela; no photographs exist of these men eating cabbage.

Dr. Alan Marshall is a teaching and research fellow in the Department of Environmental Studies.

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