Stuffed cabbage rolls. In Poland, they’re called “golabki” but here in the US that’s been sort of slurred and corrupted to “glumpki.” They’re a favorite of mine, and have been for years. My mother, who hasn’t got a drop of Eastern European blood in her, makes absolutely killer golabki, and I was fortunate enough to marry into a Polish family with an equally outstanding stuffed cabbage tradition (my wife’s golabki, made from her own mother’s recipe, are delicious and almost exactly like my mom’s. Weird.)
So you may well ask, in light of my long experience with top-notch golabki, why I would bother buying them premade, in a can.
Why indeed. Because they were on the supermarket shelf.
They came out of the can in an unrecognizable solid mass, encapsulated in a can-shaped block of aspic-like, pale grayish-red tomato sauce. I poked cautiously at the mass with my fork and eventually the sauce fell away, revealing two rather generous stuffed cabbage rolls. I arranged them on a plate and distributed chunks of the gelatinous sauce on and around them before popping them into the microwave for a three-minute zap. As the golabki warmed up, they started to smell pretty good.
Once out of the oven, they looked remarkably like homemade (although just a bit smaller.) The sauce hadn’t improved much in looks, but it smelled and tasted pretty good – there was a rich porkiness to the sauce that made it taste almost like a tomatoey pork gravy (though it was a bit on the bland side and was improved with the addition of black pepper.) The cabbage was tender but not mushy and enclosed a rich pork filling that was curiously bright pink like corned beef (thank you, sodium nitrite!) The filling was finely ground and had a bit of filler in it, but the texture was pretty good and not too soft, and the flavor was porky and pleasant.
They are not as good as homemade, but I liked them for what they are. Lynnafred tasted one and said they were good enough for the apocalypse shelter, but she wouldn’t want to eat them if she wasn’t hunkered down with a shotgun and a machete waiting for zombies to attack.