Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sauerkraut Secrets from Belgium

My parents moved in to their "Independent Living Retirement Community" yesterday. I drove down there after work and helped rip boxes open, looking for a set of sheets. On Sunday, we stopped in so they could show me their apartment which is crammed packed with bright windows overlooking the woods.

A woman from Belgium, Josee Collins, wheeled up to us in the lobby. My father was excited to see her because during an earlier conversation he told her he had been in Belgium during World War II and had built airfields for the Army Engineers. He was in the aviation division. Josee said, "Oh, at Ashe?"

"Yes, we built the airfield at Ashe. How did you know?"

She must have lived near there. She met an American service man, Jim Collins, and married him, coming to America as a War Bride.

I think my dad looks forward to finding out more about Belgium then and now.

But on Sunday, Josee leaned over to me and asked, "Do you know what the secret to sauerkraut is?"

I didn't want to say the first thing that came to mind, which stinks. "No," I admitted.


I stared at her blankly.

She nodded. "I'm serious. Applesauce or fresh apples. It takes the bitterness out."

I've only had sauerkraut twice in my life. I'm thinking they didn't use applesauce. I wonder if this is a secret only she knows, or if the people in Belgium know and simply don't tell the rest of us. Might be worth a try, though.

I'm looking forward to talking with others in my parents new community to see what secrets they hold. This could be quite an education for me.


  1. You will have to try her sauerkraut (and this isn't a bogus "pea" story). I had it in Germany and it was not bitter. I've since had it cooked by one of our local restaurants and it was not only NOT sour it was DELICIOUS.

  2. So, they used apples then? Something I neglected to add in the blog is that they must be green cooking apples, not red apples.

    Fascinating group of people at the retirement community. I'll have to bring my laptop and take notes.

  3. My cousin has in-laws with Polish ancestry who not only put apples in their sauerkraut, but also cook it with bacon. Now, in my book, anything cooked with bacon has its merits. That is, of course, except for the Bacon Maple Bars that they make at Voo Doo donuts. They even smell bad....

  4. Oh whooo hooo. Maple and Bacon. I know they put all sorts of glazes on ham, and I think maple might be one of them. If that is so, perhaps it is tasty to many. It gives me the shivers, though. Will those chefs at Voo Doo donuts stop at nothing?

    (Welcome to the blog, Kathy)


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