A Curriculum Fable


Back to School Week Continues

I love the following. Some college professor handed it out in class one day. I don’t even remember who or when any more; don’t even remember what subject. It was so long ago, in the 1960’s.

But I did keep it lo these many years. I think it says a lot; as fables are supposed to.

It is certainly food for though as More Thyme Than Dough celebrates Back to School Week.

A Curriculum Fable

One upon a time the animals had a school. The curriculum consisted of running, climbing, diving, and swimming. All of the animals took all of the subjects.

The duck was good at swimming, better in fact than his instructor. While he made passing grades in flying he was pathetically hopeless in running. Because he was low in running he had to stay after school and drop swimming class to practice running. He kept this up until he was only average in swimming. But average is acceptable so nobody worried about that. Except the duck.

The eagle was considered a problem pupil and was disciplined severely. He beat all of the other animals to the top of the tree in climbing class, but he used his own way of getting there.

The rabbit started at the top of his the class in running, but she had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out of school on account of so much make-up work in swimming.

The squirrel led the climbing class, but her flying teacher made him start flying lessons from the ground up instead of from the top down. She developed charley horses from over exertion at the take off and began getting C’s in climbing and D’s in running.

The practical prairie dogs apprenticed their offspring to a badger when the school authorities refused to add digging to the curriculum.

At the end of the year an abnormal eel that could swim very well, run, climb, and fly just a little was made valedictorian.

-Author Unknown

Featured Recipe        Cabbage Roll Casserole

As many of you know my mother was Hungarian. She made simply, no lie, not an ounce of exaggeration, THE BEST CABBAGE ROLLS EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. They were heavenly divine!!

I have never made them. They take a lot of work and are very time consuming. And then there is the fact that my mother’s recipe is very intimidating.

I mean she ground her own ham.

Ham? Yes. Ham. The first thing that made my mother’s cabbage rolls so special is they were made with ham or pork. Because of that they were light and airy and full of wonderful flavor.

In the past I have ordered cabbage rolls in restaurants, and they are often like a ton of bricks. They were made with only ground beef. Not even any eggs or other light fillers. And they were terrible. I don’t order them in restaurants any more. Don’t want to be disappointed again nor waste my money.

Her basic recipe of 60 rolls called for 3 pounds of smoked picnic that she ground herself in her small meat grinder after it was cooked. She also ground 3-3½ pounds of Boston Butt. She then mixed it all together with lots of other goodie things.

Sometimes she changed the kind of ham depending upon what was on sale.

Even though I have never made rolls, I do make Cabbage Roll Casserole. And in honor of my mother’s cabbage rolls I use pork in mine, not ground beef.

There are dozens of Cabbage Roll Casserole recipes out there. And I think I have tried most of them.

I like casseroles. They are easy to make. They feed a lot of people for very little money. And you have plenty of leftovers for later in the week when you do not want to cook.

If your budget is stretched thin cabbage is inexpensive and ground beef or pork is fairly inexpensive too. The per person cost for this recipe is between $1.06 and $1.41 depending on whether it feeds 6 or 8 folks.

My basic Cabbage Roll Casserole recipe is a mixture of several of the recipes I have tried. One is just the basic one you get when doing a general internet search. The other is one I got at my cousin’s house and that added sugar to the mix. The other recipe I fashioned mine from comes from The Recipe Link.

I liked the Recipe Link recipe because it did not use tomato soup and all the extra salt that comes with it, and it used sauerkraut. My mother’s cabbage roll recipe uses sauerkraut. So this seemed authentic to me.

I do not use two cans of tomatoes, though,  because that makes the recipe to runny for me. So I use 1 can and then add the tomato sauce.

This is what you will need for 6-8 people:

1 medium cabbage (2-3 pounds)

1 to 1½ pound ground pork

1 small onion

1clove of garlic

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup regular rice uncooked

1½ cups sauerkraut

salt and pepper to taste

Optional: sour cream

Here is what you do:

Remove outer leave and cut the cabbage in half and remove the bottoms, then cut each half in half. Remove the cores.

I am not going to slice the cabbage as I usually do. I want bite sized pieces of cabbage in this dish, not long slices. So I am going to cut across the top of each piece of cabbage (cross-wise, not length-wise) to get short almost square-like pieces of cabbage, down to the bottom.

Place cabbage in bottom of large deep casserole.

Chop the onion and the garlic.

In a skillet cook the sausage until most of the pink is gone. If the sausage is dry you might want to add a teaspoon of olive oil.

Add the onions and the garlic to the sausage and continue cooking until the sausage is completely cooked.

Add the salt, pepepr, and sugar to the sausage. Add the rice and mix well.

Add the can of diced tomatoes with juices, the can of tomato sauce to the cooked pork.  Mix together well……………………

………………………and pour over the cabbage. Spread the sauerkraut on top, including some of the juices.

Bake uncovered in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes.

Then cover the casserole and continue baking for another hour to an hour-and-a-half or so until the rice is tender.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream if using.

Bon appétit


1 medium cabbage                            $1.28

1 pound ground pork                         $3.29

1 small onion                                    $0.35

1clove of garlic                                 $0.05

1 large can diced tomatoes                $1.58

1 can tomato sauce                           $0.50

1 tablespoon sugar                            $0.05

1/3 cup regular rice uncooked            $0.09

 1½ cups sauerkraut                         $1.25

salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $8.44
Cost per person (6) = $1.41
Cost per person (8) = $1.06

Quote of the Day

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. 

Albert Einstein


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