I spent a couple of summers with relatives in North Carolina. They were farmers and truly lived in the middle of nowhere. All you could see for miles were fields and fields and some more fields. Every day began with a hearty breakfast before dawn so they could be in the fields or at the tobacco shed by daylight. The matriarch (though she would laugh to hear me use the word to describe her) worked stringing tobacco for most of the morning. She would take off her tobacco apron around 11 and head to the house. An hour later, we would show up and she would have magically filled the table with food. I still don't know how she pulled that off.

Her meals were heavy on the vegetables, all grown in the surrounding fields. Though I was young, I liked most vegetables, but there were some I just wouldn't eat. Stewed Cabbage was one of them. I'm probably not remembering this correctly, but I swear she served cabbage for lunch every single day! Even though I expressed my dislike, she would put a tiny bit on my plate and insist that I eat it. It was only one or two bites, but I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I ate that cabbage. Before the summer was over, I was converted and have loved cabbage every since.

My North Carolina relatives were part of a generation that didn't have fast food or grocery stores on every corner. You had to eat what you could grow. There didn't have freezers to fill with chicken nuggets and fish sticks for those who might not like what was on the menu. If you were a finicky eater, then you went hungry.

My parents made me eat what was on my plate, and I did the same to my children. There were some things that my children struggled with more than others, so I would just put a tiny bit on their plate, but they had to eat it. My oldest son at the age of 40 still eats his vegetables before he eats anything else. When he was young, he always ate what he didn't like first so he could get it over with and enjoy the part of the meal he did like!

I rarely stew cabbage anymore. I prefer it sautéed and a little bit crunchy. I'm still partial to green or white cabbage. I often sauté it with kale which would be uber healthy if I didn't sauté it with bacon grease and butter! I still prefer the green cabbage of my youth, but love Napa cabbage in a slaw and use Savoy if I want the cabbage to hold its firm texture and color. I haven't been able to teach myself to like Brussels sprouts or the Korean pickled cabbage kimchi, but maybe if I can force myself to taste a little bit everyday for a whole summer, I could even learn to like them, too!

Whether you're making your children eat their vegetables or not, you still might get them to eat cabbage with these easy recipes with an Asian twist.

Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie's Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to www.sophiesmarketplace.com.

Stir Fried Rice with Savoy Cabbage

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 small sweet onion, diced

1/2 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage

1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 cups cooked rice

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons soy sauce


In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrots and cabbage and stir-fry over high heat until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant. Stir in the rice and stir-fry until heated through and rice begins to brown. Set aside. In a separate skillet, scramble the eggs until nearly cooked. Add the scrambled eggs and soy sauce to the rice mixture and stir to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Skillet Sausage Egg Rolls

I love egg rolls and spring rolls, but my egg rolls are not pretty. With this recipe, I can enjoy the flavor of the egg roll without all the frustration. If you're good at rolling egg rolls, then by all means, grab a sheet and roll! This recipe calls for sausage, but you can also use 1 pound of lean ground beef.

1 pound ground sausage

6 cups coleslaw shredded green cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Sliced green onions (optional)


In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, stirring often to crumble, until cooked through. Do not drain. Add the cabbage, carrots, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil to the skillet with the sausage. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until cabbage is slightly softened, but still crunchy. Remove from the heat and top with the green onions, if using. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Napa Slaw

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

4 cups shredded Napa cabbage

1 large carrot, shredded

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)


Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cabbage, carrot, and pepper, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie's Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to www.sophiesmarketplace.com.