About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Risi e Bisi - Rice and Peas | Main | Potato Soup with Carrots and Celery »

Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup

Over the years, as I leafed through Essentials looking for inspiration, I was never tempted by page 94. This was because the main ingredient, Smothered Cabbage, appealed to me not at all. It seemed to be nothing more than oily sauerkraut.

That was pre-Pomodori.e.Vino. That was when I had a choice in what I was going to cook. Now I find a little yellow sticky-note dated 27APR staring commandingly at me from page 94.


OK, so it looks pretty boring, but I’m game. I flip back to page 479 for the Smothered Cabbage recipe. I won’t spend any time talking about this experience, because it’s Jerry or Palma’s gig, and on January 15, 2011 you’ll read all about it from whichever one of them is cooking that day.

I make the Smothered Cabbage, stick it in the fridge and go to bed, still unconvinced that this soup will be anything I will enjoy eating.


Next day, I pull the cabbage out of the fridge, dump it in a soup pot with broth and set it on the fire. When it begins to bubble, I add the rice. When the rice is tender, I pull the pot off the fire and add the butter, cheese and fresh ground pepper. Finito!


No appealing contrasting colors. Little textural variety. Not even a leafy garnish. It's visually unattractive.

I grudgingly admit to myself that it smells pretty good. I credit the parmigiano-reggiano and the butter for that. I also admit that I don’t smell the vinegar as strongly as I had expected to.

I ladle it into a bowl, take my final photo, and sit down to taste.

I eat two bowls full.

Comments (7)


I'm cracking up reading your post today. (and believe me, I needed a laugh right about now).

Rah! Rah!


I'm glad that I am not the only one that had this experience. This cookbook is blowing most of my preconceptions away! thanks for making me laugh this morning!

Smothered cabbage would be me! Palma just went 'ick' so I stepped up to the plate.

Now I know I can make a great soup with the leftovers.

Ray Anne:

I don't know which I enjoy more. The recipes or the commentary about the recipes. Who would've imagined that this endeavor would have brought together such a group of talented cooks and writers? Oh, and photographers. Thanks for it all. On a day when I really needed it.

Deborah-I always forget whose turn it is to post each day, and so I read the post trying to figure out who it is. I would have never guessed this one was you. I got a laugh out of it also. I love cooked cabbage, so I think I also would have enjoyed the soup.

Sounds like great comfort food on a cold wet day!

If you add parm and butter to almost anything, I'll eat it. That would be a NO to cilantro soup, but Marcella has none in the book, thank God!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 27, 2010 7:49 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Risi e Bisi - Rice and Peas.

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