Oh Germany. Where has time gone? I can't believe I've been home from living in Germany for 13 months now. It still feels like yesterday.
February is one of my favorite months. Maybe it's because of mine and Charles Dickens birthday, and I love my zodiac sign, Aquarius, but some of the most brilliant minds and artists have been born in Feburary: Abe Lincoln. George Washington, Bob Marley, Nicholas Copernicus, Laura Ingells Wilders, Johnny Cash and more!
While living in Germany, we experienced something called a Grünkohlfahrt near the end of February. Kohl means, “cabbage.” Grünkohl, directly translated, means, “green cabbage,” but Americans know it as kale. Fahrt means “ride or tour.”
It's a dying Northern German tradition, but today, I want to keep that spirit alive. A green cabbage tour is simply a day spent wandering in the forest with friends, drinking, eating and playing games. The leader of the pack pit stops the wagon for a shot of schnapps and a quick stop for a snack.
You can read more about my experience at: Grünkohl Tour: A Northern German Tradition that Celebrates Kale
Why do Germans do this? The green cabbage tour is not an excuse to drink like St. Patty's Day, but its to honor the earth and celebrate the harvest of kale. In Germany, kale is only available during the winter months. That's right folks. They do not have the luxury of eating kale salads, or green smoothies, in the summer because it is a winter vegetable with february marking the end of it's season.
Many towns in Germany also host a green cabbage festival. It's cute. It's quaint. It reignites their peasant and pagan roots to celebrate the blessings from the earth.
The forests in Germany are steeped with deep wisdom. We were lucky on our tour because it didn't snow. The air smelled fresh and the tiny little village rested in peace and serenity.
I wish our American traditions rooted back to nature, but sadly modern day living is all about work, work and work. And our relationship with food in our culture is very unhealthy.
When discovering a culture with ancient roots, it's amazing how food becomes a metaphor for life. And Germans definitely have a connection with their sausages. Even a simple quote such as, "Es gent um die Wurst," which literally translates, "It's about the sausage" means, "It's do or die/now or never the moment of truth."
This recipe is simple to make. All you need to do is put everything in the crockpot for six hours. I did add the potatoes partway to ensure that they didn't break down like mashed potatoes. Cooked grunkohl looks more like spinach, so you are more than welcome to add more broth to the recipe.
Original recipes include cooking the grunkohl with bacon (or bacon fat), pork belly, bones or really anything from a pig, which aides in the breaking down and creaminess of the kale. At the end of the day, the vegan version is just as flavorful.
I conclude with one of my favorite Germany sayings below:
"Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei."
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com