Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Sharing of Food - A tribute to Trudy's Rouladen

Before I get wrapped into this sharing let me state a few things about myself. I live alone, I come from a largish family – there are 5 siblings, I love to read; (3-4 books a week-sometimes more), I have two children, but only one that I had the Wonder and Mystery of being raised by, I am a vegetarian by nature; ( longer now then I was ever a Carnivore), and I love to cook for others.

Recently my friends have given me stories on food, so far in the past 2 months I have read- The Sharper your Knife the Less you Cry, Julia and Julie (perhaps that is the other way around and indeed I saw the movie), Comfort Me with Apples, My Life in Food. In the past if the title of a book had anything to do with food – well of course I read it!

Food memory is Powerful! I think I would put it right up there with our sense of smell. Which of course is a very large part of food itself. Certain foods can take us back to moments long pass, fill us with dread around the Holi-daze; who doesn’t have some food story that wraps and weaves itself into the making or breaking of the Holiday? Willingness to try new unfamiliar foods, can catch in our heart.

Rules around the dos and don’ts of food, usually ethnic and religious in their beginnings. Then there are the ways to eat certain foods. What makes it a finger food? Or cultures, where the utensil is a food in itself? Chop sticks, spoons, forks and knives? What is the social implication of how we eat, fast, slow; (we’re the last one eating). Enjoying every bite as we savor the smell, taste, gifting gratitude for the food itself. The beauty of it on the plate. The feelings of the person preparing and the love that the food was given as it was planted, given birth?

There is also the recipe – cookbooks and are you a sharer? Or do you guard the ‘family recipe’ like a treasure that nobody but Aunt Edna had and at her passing You were the one it came to, now it falls on you to protect it. For me I am a recipe sharer if I make something that you want to know how to make I am glad to share with you. I will even give the changes I have made to a recipe so that you can see how it became what it is now.

Which brings me to the recipe at hand, it holds many memories, it is one of the first meals my former husband Griff ate at my mother’s table. My personal memory is my mother, Trudy wanted the poor man to eat more. I fixed it first for my daughter after she returned form her father’s one time – he had shared his story of that dinner; I’d been a vegetarian for a number of years by then so it wasn’t on the top of my list. Ok, we’d invite friends. It is the meal that I am most often asked to make by both my daughter and grand-daughter. In years past I have been known to make a batch, freeze it and send it home on the plane. One year I heard that Huntyr’s smiled and said to her parents as she got off the plane at the end of her summer visit – “I have Rouladen in my luggage!”; even before the hello. Yes, it is indeed a recipe with a story in my family.

I invite you to share your story of some dish that opens your heart, that says Love in the depth of your soul. I wonder if this recipe holds as much weight in my sibling’s story. For me it holds a sense of wonder and love that was my mother. I would invite us to touch base with the creative nature we find in food. Many blessings be at your table today and always. Where is it that you find a love story told by food? Eat with this love in your Heart and all food will nourish your soul.

Grandma Trudy’s Rouladen

Know from the beginning you are not making this dish for tonight – but for tomorrow. It truly makes a difference. Call ahead to make sure the butcher is in and can cut this for you. As it is somewhat labour intensive I plan ahead for a 2nd meal.

Top Round sliced very thin- count 2 slices per person
Pickles – cut into 4ths planning on a quarter per slice
Bacon- one slice per slice
Onions- cut into an 8ths –1 each per slice
A good mustard
Salt and Pepper
Last nights red wine or open a bottle- don’t make it cheap!

I roll my pickles and onion slices with the bacon, then lay out the steak. With your steak laid out spread with mustard, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now roll your BOP bundles up in the meat. Trudy wrapped these with thread, I find it easier to use a wooden tooth pick.
As you roll them, sear these meat parcels in a very hot pan. I usually throw a couple of pieces of bacon in the pan to help with a touch of moisture and fat. As they are seared all round, put into a larger stew pot. When they are all in the pot, pour a water into the searing pan to get all those yummy juices. Pour over meat in stew pot. Add a little more water if need to just barley cove the meat. Throw a splash or two of wine in, this will later become a matter of taste. I pour the wine in the now empty mustard jar shake to get all that goodness from the jar. Bring this all just to a simmer hold there for about an hour. Turn off. Cool. When cool place in fridge, remember you’re making tomorrows dinner. Serve with boiled small potatoes, cooked red cabbage.

My hands a picture taken by T. Griffin while she and I fixed this dish


  1. makes my mouth water just reading about it!

  2. For me it is the little Welsh tea cakes that have to be cooked on the griddle, the size of a silver dollar that take forever to make. I make them for my brother's birthday - I am the only one in my family that makes them. The smell and the taste of them takes us all back to our paternal grandmother who adored us and loved us all. Everytime I make them and smell them I am enveloped in that love again.