A Few Favorite Things: To Live Long & Well

A Few Favorite Things: To Live Long & Well

As we watch the nation go a bit mad over healthcare, The art of living long and well is forefront on our minds. We remain flummoxed at the silence on food policy surrounding this debate. How can we become a happier and healthier nation if we do not address the way we nourish ourselves? We may never know on a national scale, but here in this tiny pocket of the world we’ll continue to hone our focus on good food and kinship with nature and all the other “secrets” to a well-lived life — especially when they come in the form of our favorite Ethiopian cabbage and an uplifting interview with three lovely Centenarians.

Eat: The cabbage season is upon us and for some reason I’m fielding tons of questions about preserving the year’s bounty for winter. I’ve never written about cabbage and am not aware of a cabbage theme in my day-to-day conversations. I can only assume I must look like a gal who knows a thing or two about keeping the garden’s densest brassica back for winter, and that’s what’s prompting the inquiries. So, right or wrong, I’ve been pretending to know something all month long. “There’s sauerkraut,” I tell people, “freezer coleslaw, cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, and the good old tub of sand in the root cellar method.” Perhaps I know more than I realized. Or perhaps their cabbage preservation efforts will all be in vain and I will be to blame. Whatever the outcome though, for the record, my favorite way is whatever results in never having to go without Tikil Gomen. A recipe that roughly translates to the name of the dish’s centerpiece — cabbage — there are as many ways to make Tikil Gomen as there are Ethiopian women to teach you how. Sometimes it includes carrots and potatoes, other times not. Some people eat it hot, others cold. I like mine chilled and served alongside a spicy stew and a round of injera. Used almost as a condiment — a relish or salsa served on the side and added atop each bite. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and wrapped up in injera or eaten with a fork on its own. Someday I’ll do a proper recipe post on it, in the meantime here’s a simple recipe for all the excess cabbage in your life:

Tikil Gomen

4 TBSP oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
generous dash of sea salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 small hot peppers, ancho or similar works well. Don’t use Chipotle. (optional)

In a large pot or dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat until bubbling.

Add onions, stir to coat, and cover. Cook onions until they begin to turn translucent.

Add carrots, and continue to cook, covered for 5-7 minutes stirring once about halfway through.

Add cabbage and repeat 5-7 minute covered cook, stirring once.

Finally, add salt, ginger, tumeric, garlic, and chilis. Continue to cook, covered until cabbage is soft, about 15 minutes.

Enjoy hot or chill and serve cold, as we do.

Watch: “It’s all the food that my mother cooked and, first of all, grew in the garden. We always always had fresh food when we were youngsters. Always. Straight from the garden, into the pan, and onto the plates. – Emilia Tereza Harper, 103-years old.

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