Apr 09

German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.


Growing up, my mother made a lot of ethnic food. Her mother, my maternal grandmother, was from what is now Slovakia. It always seemed odd to me that we ate so many traditional foods that contained the name German in them. It seems that Slovak culture is very similar to its neighbor but has its own spin.

My favorite dish was German Red Cabbage. My mother made it every holiday and it was my request for my birthdays. I looked forward to eating that dish every time. All family gatherings necessitated this dish, which caused a ritual argument between my mother and my paternal grandmother, with her husband’s heavily German last name. My grandmother swore that my mother put sugar in the dish because that’s what German Red Cabbage was supposed to have. Whether it was due to a regional difference in the Slovak made dish or a condition of my maternal grandmother’s diabetes, my mother’s cabbage had no sugar added.

I now make this dish for the holidays and any meal which might constitute a feast. My husband’s family gladly latched onto it and expects me to make it. Although must of my children barely tough the dish, it’s one I won’t give up making, not only because it remains my favorite but also because it reminds me of my mother.


German Red Cabbage


  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1 onion
  • vinegar
  • water


  • Cook the 1/2 pound of bacon and crumble. Reserve some of the bacon drippings.
  • Dice the onion and saute in the reserved bacon drippings.
  • Rough chop the cabbage.
  • Place all ingredients in a pressure cooker along with a suitable amount of liquid made of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
  • Cook until the pressure cooker begins “shake-a-shaking” (my mother’s official term) and time an additional 8 minutes.
  • Be certain to take precautions with the pressure cooker while bringing it to a cooler temperature to remove lid.

Serve hot!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family’s history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family’s meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken’s Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma’s sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama’s adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family’s recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom’s Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at CookingTF.com shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma’s signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free shortbread, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade “Flubber”!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that’s been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she’s trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you’ll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family’s Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy‘s simple “recipe” for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma’s Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma’s banana bread. It’s love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.


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  1. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    Yum! We love cabbage here. And bacon, too! And I can emphasize it as cultural. :)

  2. jana

    I’m just starting to learn to love cabbage. Adding bacon to the mix will make it an easy sell and allow me to keep all the goodness for myself :)

  3. Dionna Ford

    Did you bring this over for our Germany class? I swear I’ve had this, and I don’t remember whether I made it, or if I ate it somewhere else. At any rate, I remember I enjoyed it :)
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

    1. Mandy

      I did!

  4. Bianca

    Yum! My parents were Polish immigrants and we have had red cabbage many a time at the dinner table :) I too struggle with having my husband try some of the more “out there” recipes – like Polish pickle soup. By far my favorite soup in the world but to many people it’s so weird!

    Thanks for posting a great recipe and story.

  5. Becky Elmuccio (@craftygrdenmama)

    Sounds like a delicious side dish! My mother in law swears by her pressure cooker.

  6. Becky Elmuccio (@craftygrdenmama)

    Mandy, I have a real food recipe and green living linky called Tuesday Greens if you ever want to stop by and link up. This would be a great recipe to share over there. Have a good week!

    1. Mandy

      Thanks. I added it.

  7. Joella at Fine and Fair

    Ooooh, we too have a lot of German heritage and this would be perfect for our annual Oktoberfest celebrations! I’ll have to a ponder a way to make it vegetarian; thanks for the inspiration!

  8. SRB

    I have never been a fan of cabbage, but it is slowly growing on me. My husband loves all things German and this look a LOT easier than some of the other things he wants to try! Now, we just need a pressure cooker… this might convince him! :)

  9. theadventuresoflactatinggirl

    I’m not a huge cabbage person, but I think I may have to try this! Cabbage is so good for you, but I have a hard time choking it down a lot of the time. Adding bacon definitely seems like it’ll work for me. :-P

  10. Lisa Nelson (@Squishablebaby)

    My hubby loves loves loves cabbage. I will have to try this one on him.

  11. s

    My Mom has always made this, she learned from my Dad’s mother (we do include brown sugar). We had no idea it was German! I wonder if my Grandma learned it from her German in laws.

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