Picture this: Late 1989, at a kitchen table in Sharon, MA. After an afternoon drippily defrosting back to life, a reused deli potato salad container of Helen Fine’s stuffed cabbage was heated and served to a little girl. A pampered child, the cabbage roll sliced for her. One sweet and sour bite in, the little girl, having greedily swallowed well before full mastication was complete, found herself suddenly unable to breathe. Fear not: the child lived to grow up and have many cabbage-themed complexes. Her mother, an ever-watchful and competent practitioner of the Heimlich maneuver, launched the cabbage out of the girl’s throat and saved her life. That day began the girl’s transition from passive acceptance to profound interest in the dangerous foods of the Jewish world.
That story culminates thusly: