By Darla McCammon
The Roman statue of Janus, supposedly made by sculptor Numa, had a myriad of interpretations. But we must go back 4,000 years to Babylon to find records of New Year’s festivities in ancient history.
Janus looks to both the future and the past. Multiple artisans created replicas of Janus, who was considered the god of beginnings and the god of gates. This was well before Christianity when the Roman god Janus, who was also named for January, was honored. This event took place in mid-March, so our celebrations on Jan. 1 are fairly new by a historical perspective. The first time it was honored on Jan. 1 was in Rome in 153 BC. It then took another 2,000 years before Pope Gregory would to create a consistent church calendar (Gregorian) as we use it today. Britain did not follow suit with Rome for almost 200 more years.
If you can believe it, the Christmas and New Year’s Eve we celebrate today with our carols, festive lights, nativities, trees, jolly Santas, candy canes and gingerbread houses has only been celebrated in America for just a little over 100 years.
One of the traditions for New Year’s in my family is to have a dish with cabbage for good luck in the New Year. The aroma of my cabbage rolls fills the house while we watch the Rose Parade. The scent of homemade bread and warm butter tickles the palate. Want to try it? Here is the recipe for my Christmas and New Year’s gift to you.
Darla’s Cabbage Rolls
- one large head of cabbage
- one pound ground beef
- one cup shredded cheese
- one egg
- one cup quick cooking rice
- salt and pepper
- one pound ground sausage (mild)
- one finely chopped onion
- two tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- one large can of tomato juice (or your favorite large jar of spaghetti sauce)
- two or three cans of Bavarian sauerkraut
Cook the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water until the leaves been to pull off from the core easily. Use 14 to 16 leaves for large rolls. Next, combine beef, sausage, onion, rice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, egg and cheese. Mix well to form small balls about three to four tablespoons in size. Put one ball in each leaf. Fold over the ends first, then fold over the remaining and secure with a toothpick.
In another deep pan, layer the sauerkraut then place cabbage rolls on top. Add another layer until you’re near the top. Cover all with juice or sauce and add more water or sauce if necessary to keep it all most and covered with a lid. Cook over medium/low heat about one to two hours, adding juice or water if needed. You can also use sweet Italian ground sausage for another flavor option.