This, above, might not look like much: bratwurst with cabbage looks humble enough, but let me tell you – it’s something, all right. On a cold February night accompanied by freezing rain, I can’t think of more satisfying dinner. Also, feel free to file this under “Crap, it’s [fill in the day of the week] night, the fridge is empty, and there’s no dinner plan” kind of a meal. Happens in this household more often than I like to admit. And also a random but important aside (and please tell me if I’m alone in this): on the worst kind of nights, the kind where there’s bitter winds and cold rain or sleet, I am loathe to call for take-out because (and follow me here a moment) I feel badly about sending the delivery guys out in this weather delivering my food. I worry that they might get sick and there’s no health insurance; I fret over the fact that people’s driving is more erratic when there is bad weather and the delivery guys might get into an accident. I know my logic is flawed (by not ordering I am costing them income), and when we do order in on such nights, we tip extra for the delivery guys’ effort, but still, the pang of guilt in making them go out into the elements – I feel it every time.
Bratwurst served with sauerkraut is, I’m told, a very common thing in Germany. It’s hearty, hardy fare, downright pedestrian if you think about it; honest cooking without much cooing or pretense. It’s meant to warm you right down to your bones and fill your belly, and goes down beautifully with a pint of beer. Right about now I might crave Florida sunshine, a pool, and an umbrella drink, but for this, friends, you need the all the misery of the Northeast February (or anywhere where it’s cold) with all its inglorious freeze to fully appreciate what visually doesn’t, in the least bit, look arresting.