February 01, 1998

A Cure For All Ills

A Cure for All Ils

Sauerkraut, or sour cabbage, is made in many countries. But nowhere is it consumed in such large quantities as in Russia. And probably nowhere else will you find such a variety of recipes for preparing it.

In Russia, sauerkraut is eaten year-round, spiced-up with different vegetables, according to the season. Salted cabbage is an extremely popular snack to have with vodka (there is even a slang term in Russian to indicate the process of drinking — kvasit, to make sour — the Russian equivalent of being pickled). And sauerkraut is also considered to be an effective antidote against hangovers. By the way, this idea is well-recorded in cultural tradition, for even the Ancient Greeks believed that “by eating cabbage before drinking, you won’t get drunk, and if you eat it afterwards, you will dispel your drunkenness.” In that culture, cabbage was generally considered magical and was used to heal wounds and as a cure for insomnia. 

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