Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Another recipe that I had neglected to move over from a previous web site.

This is my Grandmother’s recipe for sweet and sour cabbage soup. Unlike most of the recipes in these pages, you can get all the ingredients at just about any grocery store.


1 2-3lb green cabbage
1 lemon
1 onion
1 cup sugar or to taste
1 14oz can of Bavarian Sauerkraut
1 12oz can of Tomato Paste
1 28oz can of Sliced or Chopped tomatoes
1 TBS salt


Slice the cabbage and put it in a large pot.

Chop the onion, and put it in the same pot.

Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice and pulp of the entire lemon into the pot.

Add the sugar, salt, and all of the canned ingredients to the mixture.

Take each can, fill it once with water, and pour the water into the mixture.

Bring the soup to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer. The soup should be cooked for several hours, until it no longer smells of cabbage; the cabbage should be soft and translucent. The soup will cook down a fair bit in volume; the longer it cooks the more pronounced the flavor will be. If you cook it down too much (either the first day or when reheating it), just add some water and cook it some more.

Ingredient Notes

You may substitute normal saurkraut for the Bavarian Saurkraut if you like.

If you want to use meat, put a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the soup pan first, and sautee a soup bone in it. Then follow the rest of the instructions as written.

Unlike baking recipes, the sugar in this is just a sweetener rather than giving structure to anything, so you can use sweetener substitutes of your choosing.

Betty Katz’ Sour Tomatoes

                   Growing up, our next door neighbor would make these pickles every summer. My mother had gotten the recipe from her, and I’ve made only one minor change. The original recipe called for the use of Alum directly in the brine, something that is no longer recommended practice in pickling. Instead, I use Pickling Lime (which serves the same purpose) in a bath first, which stiffens the tomatoes but is washed off. These are not shelf stable pickles, and must be refrigerated.



  1. 3 qts. Water
  2. 1 qt good Cider vinegar
  3. 1 cup Kosher salt (233 grams of any non-iodized salt)

In Sterilized Jar                

  1. 1 t pickling spice
  2. 1 T honey
  3. 1 dried hot chile pepper
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 2 – 3 pieces peeled raw garlic


  1. Bring liquid to a rolling boil. 
  2.  Place dry ingredients in each sterile quart jar
  3. Scrub green tomatoes. Cut into halves or quarters
  4. Add tomatoes to jars.
  5. Pour in boiling liquid to top of jar. Seal.
  6. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. Refrigerate. These are not shelf stable.

Additional Notes

For crisper pickles, use a Pickling Lime (like Mrs. Wages) on the tomatoes prior to starting. Follow the instructions on the package of Pickling Lime for proper handling.         

Reflections on Another Era

It was the mid-1990’s. In addition to the major television networks, there were also shows directly into syndication.

The thing about syndicated shows was that they didn’t have a universal time slot (or a single release of an entire season). Instead, the local stations had a window in which to air the shows. This becomes important later.

Television programs were also mostly episodic. The move towards the more plot heavy story arcs was going on (X-Files being a notable example), but in general, at the end of any given episode, things had basically returned to the status quo ante. Sometimes you had to wait for the conclusion of a two-part episode with a cliffhanger in between. This will also become important later.

In Denver, where we lived at the time, Babylon 5 aired at the end of it’s programming window, so we were almost always just shy of a week behind the first viewers. And then, the television station made a mistake. They aired The Coming of Shadows a week early.

Watching the episode, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and trying to figure out how they were going to get to a reset point. And then I realized that they weren’t. They were breaking the setting, and nothing was going to be the same after this episode.

This isn’t a post about the 1990s.

When we get to the other side of this, those of us who survive, we are going to be different. The world is going to be different. I don’t know the shape of those changes, it is far too soon to tell. But there isn’t a reset point ahead, the world after Covid-19 is going to be very different then the world that rang out 2019 a few months ago.

Recipe: Spicy Sesame Noodles

This is a quick spicy noodle dish that is good hot or cold, and quite low in carbohydrates because of the use of the Konjaku based Shirataki noodles.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • Sichuan Pepper Chili Oil (either home made or a high quality commercial)
    • 2 tsp oil
    • 2 tsp solids
  • 1 TBSP Chinese Preserved Vegetable
  • 1 TBSP + 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Paste
  • 1 TBSP Chinkiang Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP + 1 tsp Chinese Light Soy Sauce
  • Pinch salt (or more to taste)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP Cooking Oil
  • 16-20 oz ground meat
  • 3 packages of Angel Hair Shirataki (Konjaku) noodles (7-8oz each)


Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a small bowl, and mix well, setting aside.

Cut the packages of noodles into thirds, and rinse well in a colander or other strainer, and set aside to continue to drain.

Place a sauce pan large enough for all the ingredients over a medium-high heat, and add the oil. Add the ground meat to the hot oil, and stir fry until cooked through and crumbled.

Add the drained noodles to the meat, followed by the sauce mixture. You may want to use some of the noodles to help get the sauce out of the bowl.

Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has cooked down, and when you move the noodles around the pan with the spoon you see at most a little oil on the cleared sections of the pan.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately, or refrigerate to eat later.

Ingredient Notes:

Sichuan Chili Oil: This high quality option is commercially available, or you can make your own (e.g. this recipe from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China).

Chinese Preserved Vegetable: There are any number of options, I used this variety, which is available at specialty grocery markets or from Amazon.

Sesame Paste: Tahini won’t work. You need a toasted sesame paste , either commercially available (this is a superb option), or again, home made by grinding toasted sesame seeds.

Chinkiang Vinegar: I have not had the opportunity to try this one from Mala Market, but other varieties should be readily available at specialty grocery stores or from Amazon.

Chinese Light Soy Sauce: There is enough of a difference between Chinese and Japanese soy sauce that you should be sure to get a quality Chinese version. This bottle, again imported by The Mala Market is extraordinary, but you can also use Pearl River Bridge if you are looking for a cheaper alternative.

Shirataki Noodles: I use this brand, shipped from Amazon, as it is shelf stable and therefore doesn’t take up room in the refrigerator.