Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day Sauerbraten

Yesterday I was up to my elbows in sauerbraten, red cabbage and crumb cake.

Last year I discovered my father-in-law is crazy about sauerbraten. Who knew? I made it on a whim and he's been talking about it ever since. This was the obvious Father's Day entree choice. After tackling most of the meal in the morning, I packed it up and drove to Punta Gorda for an early Father's Day celebration.

Sauerbraten is not a dish you see every day. If you are unfamiliar with it, it imparts a sweet and sour tang. Eye-of-round roast marinates overnight in a mixture of red wine vinegar, water, onion, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves, plus or minus some chopped celery and carrot. It simmers on the stove for several hours and is served with gingersnap gravy.

My aunt was known for it. If you were going to Aunt Betty's for a family get-together, chances were pretty good she would be serving sauerbraten. I don't remember ever tasting it because my mother assured us we hated it. Awesome Aunt Betty must have known this was an acquired taste because she always had a meatball sub backup plan for the "sour beef" haters.

Food is a peculiar thing. It satisfies in multiple ways by satiating hunger, elevating mood, promoting good health, mentally transporting us to places we have been and rekindling memories of people we cherish. My father-in-law told me his loving, departed wife made this dish for him. I like to think the distinct taste and aroma of this German meal conjure up sweet memories of her, just as they remind me of a special aunt.

If you can't decide what to cook this Father's Day, consider a sentimental favorite.

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