Poor cabbage, it’s such an undervalued veg. The name does it, of course – if rose were called cabbage, no one would bother to even notice the flower.
Cabbage derives from Norman French caboche meaning ‘head’ and that possibly from Latin caput, also ‘head’. ‘Cabbage head’ will then be an illogical expression, a bit like ‘stupid idiot; and it’s equally unflattering. A cabbage insultingly describes a brain-damaged or mentally incapacitated individual. It also used to be a slang expression for stealing.
That’s English – the French redeem the brassica considerably in a ‘mon petit chou’ endearment. The Germans had a chancellor called Kohl so they don’t snigger. And even America respects cabbage – it’s slang for paper money.
If you treat it right, it will make a fantastic side dish. When cooking it, do it briefly, stir frying. Fermented is arguably the best, as in sauerkraut or kimchi. But raw shredded cabbage is better than the best lettuce, and this salad recipe is the absolute go-to (hate that word) garnish for tacos, gyros, summer rolls and all dishes that want for a bit of crunchy flavoursome greenery.