Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Short Story and Libby's Iron Skillet Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

Below is a beautifully written story shared with me by someone who follows my blog.  He is also someone who shares the same sentiment as I do regarding good old fashioned home cooked meals and the handwritten recipe cards that they were given to us on.   I too love digging into my old recipe box and looking at those treasured, stained and torn little recipe cards that friends and family took the time to write out for me.  Though most of my recipe cards have been converted to computer format, I will never part with these wonderful little treasures~

I hope you enjoy his story and family recipe as much as I did.

Libby's Iron Skillet Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

Virtual Comfort
by Alan

I follow fourteen recipe blogs and I enjoy seeking out new and amazing recipes across the Internet. Still, I have one nagging regret that came from my love of collecting good recipes.

I spent my career in the field of Information Technology. As the field of computer technology advanced there were always new challenges and new frontiers developing. Turning technology toward a personal use was an easy decision. One Thanksgiving I gave up searching through drawers and boxes trying to find an old favorite recipe that was to be a part of the Thanksgiving meal. It was then that I decided to relegate all our favorite recipes to a recipe database. It didn’t take long to whip up a Microsoft Access database and start entering the loose clippings and handwritten 3x5 cards into the database. Never again would we have to turn the house upside down to find a favorite family recipe, handwritten on a piece of scrap paper, 3x5 card, clipped from a magazine, or even left in the magazine itself, and stashed away for future reference.

Having created the database I entered those few loose recipes we had stuffed in drawers and cupboards. Wow, I could even put photos of the food with the recipe, like one of those mouth watering restaurant menus. The next logical step was to add more recipes. Why not add a few family favorites from other family members. Add those favorites of mom and sis and aunts and uncles whose comfort dishes have adorned the family tables over the years. With a database, you could add these special treats and then just pop them up whenever you felt the need to cook one up. Heck, go out on the Internet and find more good stuff to add to the collection. Sharing? Just print a copy, or email a copy to a friend. The database was the be-all and end-all for permanent recipe retention and access; except for one thing. It didn’t feel as personal anymore. Something was missing.

Taking an old 3x5, creased, stained and loved recipe, handwritten or typed by a loved one or friend, and entering it into a recipe database removed something from the equation. That old recipe card, complete with bends and tears and stains, held a personal connection to the originator and to anyone who held and used it since its creation. That recipe was touched by someone close to you. I even have some that have finger print stains on them. The handwriting was scrawled by the person in question and the stains came from a kitchen filled with the smells and family fare that came with using the recipe. There was DNA here. That tattered piece of paper was an eye witness to a kitchen atmosphere and events long since relegated to fading memories. No matter when you picked up that old recipe card, it radiated warmth that no database could ever muster. The only connection my database could portray from that old recipe was a virtual link to the source, as a reference. While it became easy to find a recipe whenever you needed it, or share it at the touch of a button (virtual button), it was disheartening in some personal sense.

I still use the database all the time, to look up recipes and print them for easy reference and share them via email or printing. I can even print a cookbook at the touch of a button. But even now, picking up an old recipe that was handwritten and handed down has a feel so different than the cold technology of a computer database. So while the database provides convenience, the old tattered recipe is still retained because it holds a warmth and connection that can never be provided by technology. It’s somewhat the same feeling as reading a book and passing it on, or reading the evening newspaper. There’s something lost in the translation, when we forego these old mediums, which can never be passed on in electronic bits and bytes. I still enjoy a daily tour of my favorite recipe blogs. But inside, there’s still that tug of a good ole’ stained and faded handwritten recipe.

Then again, if this were handwritten, you never would have gotten to read it.

Libby's Iron Skillet Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

Thinly sliced pork chops (bone in)
Can of Sauerkraut (recommend Silver Floss,   barrel cured)
Onion - 1 small (chopped up)
Butter - 1 Tbs.
Mazola corn oil - 1/3 cup
1 cup water ( I used 1 Cup Apple Juice instead, Optional)
Worcestershire sauce

Alan's note: Gramma always used bone-in pork chops for this recipe.

Heat sauerkraut in a little water in a separate pan.
In a cast iron skillet, add a little cooking oil or olive oil to the skillet first.
Slow cook...
Brown pork chops in the oil . ( I salt and peppered both sides of pork chops before putting in the oil.)
Then add butter, onion, and Mazola oil; mix and continue cooking until onions are tender and slightly browned.
Scrape and toss with wooden spatula or spoon while cooking.
Remove pork chops from skillet, leaving stock in pan.
Add a little water (about a cup), plus salt and pepper to skillet to make gravy.
Mix with wooden spatula
Strain sauerkraut and add to skillet gravy.
Stir in a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
Cook and toss, then add pork chops back in.
Once everything is well mixed again, serve.
Goes good with a little Worcestershire sauce on the side.

Print Here

1 comment:

  1. Well I definitely need to give this a try. ;-)