So the other night I was having sex with a hooker and I started thinking about cabbage. (I was hungry and rather bored.) Some people will find this strange. But as the hooker began to press sour cream into my chest and prod my stomach with cauliflower (we were having sex in the supermarket), I came to realize that my idle association of sex and cabbage was in no way abnormal.

Cabbage is round, ample and, if treated skillfully, firm to the touch; it smells softly nutty, or perhaps a touch like bleach; it feels warm against your body, if you warm it first; and it is lubricated and ribbed for your pleasure, if you lubricate and rib it first. It is, in my opinion, the perfect sex food, or at least the perfect food to eat giant plates of before sex, or, if anything, the perfect food to think of and keep on your nightstand while having sex. Those who deny cabbage’s indisputable sex appeal are probably no fun. I presume they only rarely incorporate cabbage into their sex lives. I suggest you not have sex with them.

I, however, am blessed to lead a healthy, cabbage-based sex life. My favorite hookers all agree that cabbage has a rightful place in the bedroom. They even raise no objections when I ask them to have sex with me in the produce aisle at Shaw’s, pressed against the damp and poorly-lit bins of cabbages, reveling in their cold, firm and faintly bleach-scented sensuality. Sometimes when we’re done we purchase that very same cabbage and take it home — or rather, I take it home; she goes her own way — and braise it with red wine and garlic, exactly as in this recipe. Then I eat it up ravenously and finish off the bottle of wine, by myself, alone in my kitchen. In time I grow excited and long to have sex once more, but usually there is no one to have sex with in my kitchen. No matter, I tell myself. There’s some leftover cabbage in the fridge. That, surely, will satisfy my sexual appetite.

Braised Red Cabbage with Red Wine and Garlic

Active time: 15 minutes. Actual time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. Serves 6 (or 2, again and again).


1/4 cup olive oil

8 cloves garlic, peeled

1 small or medium head red cabbage

1/2 cup red wine

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Fresh ground black pepper


1. In a 12-inch heavy or non-stick sauce pot, cook garlic and oil over very low heat until undersides of garlic cloves turn golden, about 4 minutes. Flip over and cook other sides until golden, about 3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile peel outer leaves from cabbage and discard. Halve the head and cut out the stem. Halve again and slice cabbage thinly, as if for coleslaw. Rinse in a colander, and drain.

3. When the garlic is ready, turn heat to medium and add cabbage to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage has softened and reduced some in size, about 10 minutes. Add wine and salt and pepper to taste, stir to coat well, and reduce heat to low. Cover pot loosely, so only a little steam escapes. Braise cabbage in this way, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until very soft. If wine reduces too far, add 1/4 cup water, as needed. There should always be a thin layer of liquid, bubbling, at the bottom of the pot.

4. When ready to serve, make sure all the liquid has evaporated, except for a thick syrup at the bottom of the pot. If liquid is too thin, raise heat to high and boil some of it off. Add vinegar and additional salt and pepper to taste, making sure the cloves of garlic are either dissolved or crushed and are well incorporated. Serve hot, while having sex, if desired.