Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Old Warlock's Stunning Cabbage Schnitzel



“Do you not feel that somehow everything would be alright if you could just have a little bit of cabbage?”

(Jane Smiley, The Greenlanders)


I love it when old friends surprise you.

It's Spring in good earnest here in Lake Country. I'm already picking chives and sorrel, but it's going to be a while before we'll be seeing much in the way of new vegetables from the garden. So for the time being, we stick with those reliable old friends that have got us through the Winter, for just a little longer.

Well, cabbage is the witchiest of vegetables, anyway: potentially nasty and always surprising, with those undeniable grace notes of sulfur. What's not to love?

Here in the North Country, we eat lots of cabbage—it grows when nothing else will—and it's always good to meet that beloved old shape-shifter in a new and unexpected preparation.

Cabbage schnitzel are schnitzel only by courtesy—think potato pancakes made with cabbage instead of potato—but they're light, elegantly simple, and absolutely delicious.


Old Warlock's Cabbage Schnitzel



1½ pounds cabbage (roughly one small head), shredded

½ small onion, grated

3 eggs

¼ cup flour

1/3 cup bread or cracker crumbs (I usually use matzo meal)

salt and pepper to taste



For garnish:

fresh dill, chopped

1 lemon, wedged


Blanch the shredded cabbage in generously salted water until tender, 3-4 minutes.

Drain and cool. When the cabbage has cooled enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. (You'll be amazed how much the cabbage reduces when you do this.)

Stir in onion, eggs, flour, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

In a frying pan, heat ¼ inch oil until hot. Shape batter into patties—add more breadcrumbs if necessary—and brown on both sides.

Serve immediately, and better it be if garnished with chopped fresh dill and a good, healthy squeeze of lemon.


Makes (of course) 13 schnitzels.

See, I told you cabbage was the witchiest vegetable.












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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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