On the flip side of the irish thing, there’s my German heritage. I imagine that I like German food. It is the food of my grandfather and theoretically I like all the heavy cream sauces and gravies, the dumplings, cabbage, the dark winter dinners laden with long roasted fatty meats, potatoes and lugubrious side dishes. My mother, Loralyn, my sister Ann and her husband, what’s his name, and I had dinner at Pandl’s. I didn’t recall that it was such a GERMAN place. Rouladen, schnitzel, and god knows what else was on the menu, all of it heavily teutonic except for maybe the cobb salad or some such thing.

Sauerbraten was the evening special. Mit dumplings and red cabbage. So I imagine that I like German food, in reality it wasn’t so great. But maybe that was Pandl’s problem. There was a vague nod to my German forebears on the plate but in my memory sauerbraten has a far more deliberate impact on my taste buds. More sauer and less braten. The dumpling was nice and who can resist red cabbage? (OK, I cannot. Most people can. Realizing that I could buy a jar of red cabbage and eat it all myself was one of the rites of my adulthood along with some other things not quite as doofus-y.)

Below is my grandfather’s hand-written recipe for “instant” sauerbraten. It appears to have been provided by somewhere called The Blue Dot. Not so German sounding. It hangs on the wall in my mom’s kitchen. She’s never made it that I am aware of.

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