My mother sent me this recipe. I don’t know where she got it from, but I know she didn’t create this on her own. When it comes to cooking skills, well, let’s just say mine are inherited. Hers are, too, to be completely fair. My dad’s mom was an old school country cook. My mom’s mom—not even a little. Her mother died when she was 8, in 1933. My mom told me once that her mother’s folks were farmers in Tennessee, and only the cook could be excused from working the fields. When grandma’s mom died, her oldest sister took over food duty. My great aunt was, apparently, a smart woman—she realized if her sisters knew how to cook, her ability to stay at home while the others worked the fields in the heat might be endangered. So, she guarded her skills jealously and doomed my family to generations of bad meals.
But I digress. In short, mom probably ate this at one of her old lady luncheons and asked for the recipe. She knows I’m on the gluten free wagon and wanted to help. I should note that my mom and I have a history with cabbage. Mom used to boil it on the stove with nothing but a little salt. She assured me it tasted better than it smelled. I told her it would have to. Talk about obnoxious.
She knows better than to ask me to eat cabbage. Yet she sent it to me anyway. There’s bacon involved. There’s a rumor out there that everything is better with bacon. The Internet surely can’t be wrong about that. Plus I’ve been into Brussels sprouts lately (roasted Brussels sprouts are amazing) and they’re in the same family. So, despite an aversion to anything green and slimy that isn’t spinach, I decided to try it.
Holy Moses. My mama really does love me.
I called it heart attack cabbage because mom’s version directed me to cook the cabbage in the leftover bacon grease. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. If I was going to make myself eat cabbage, it had to be because it was relatively good for me. A teaspoon of bacon grease? I could’ve handled that. But eating all the grease from 12 ounces of bacon seemed like a sure-fire way to make a banana split better for me, and if I was going to do that, I’d prefer the ice cream over cabbage. I drained the bacon and used some olive oil instead. The other version may have tasted better, but this was still pretty amazing, and I felt better about myself. But if you’re adventurous and want to cook this in true Southern style, omit the olive oil and cook the cabbage in the leftover bacon grease. Then head straight for the defibrillator.
Heart Attack Cabbage
1 head of cabbage, cut cut into strips
1 onion, diced
12 oz. bacon, cut into pieces
1/3 c olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pepper to taste
Cook bacon pieces on large skillet until crispy. Remove pieces to a paper towel to drain and pour off bacon grease. Add olive oil to skillet, heat, then carefully add cabbage. Cook cabbage over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until cooked down (about 10 minutes). Add onions and sauté until onions are clear. Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking until desired consistency.