"The time has come,"as said the Walrus (Alice and the Looking (Mass): -

"To talk of many things; Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax; of Cabbages, and kings".

Because apt to ferment, the whole tribe of Cabbages, or Coleworts, is named botanically Brassicacece, "apo tou brassein".

They all contain much nitrogen, or vegetable albumin, with a considerable quantity of sulphur, which latter constituent makes them admirably antiseptic; nevertheless, they tend strongly to putrefaction, and when undergoing this process they give off very offensive odours. The white Cabbage is most putrescible, the red most emollient, and pectoral. All the Coleworts are called "Crambe," from krambos, dry, because they dispel drunkenness. A Greek proverb said, "Dis crambee ihanatos" signifying the phrase, "Death by twice Cabbage"; "the single portion is excellent, the double dish is death;"or, as the Latin maxim of Juvenal renders it, "Occidit miseros bis repetita".

Most probably the real intention of these warnings was, as old Fuller thought, "Crambe bis cocta." "Colewort twice sodden" (meaning likewise "stale news ") conveys the fact that "Crambe is a kind of Cabbage which, with vinegar, being raw, is good, boiled better, but twice boiled, noysome to the palate, and nauseous to the stomach." Athenian doctors prescribed cabbage for young nursing mothers who wished to see their babes grow lusty, and strong. "Honest old Cato," wrote Culpeper, (1650), "used no other physick than the Cabbage." "Cato, the Censor, with his strong sense, and his hard-headedness, may probably be taken as the representative of the best household mediciner known to the Romans in their brave days of old. His system of therapeutics was as simple as that of Sangrado, only he used Cabbage instead of water. This homely vegetable was to Cato a veritable panacea; given internally, or applied externally, it was 'ad omnes res salubris.' It cured constipation, and dysentery, headache, and lumbago; retention, and incontinence of urine; pains in the liver, and affections of the heart, colic, toothache, gout, and deafness, insomnia, ophthalmia, gangrene, abscesses, and nasal polypi.

It was as efficacious in pulmonary consumption as the modern Lacnanthes, as potent in cancer as violet leaves; in short, Cato might have anticipated for the Cabbage a famous epitaph, transcribing it as 'Nihil tetigit quod non curavit.' " But the secret of his Cabbage cure lay in the mode of its administration, about which he made no mystery. For instance, "if one was afflicted with colic, take a Cabbage, and, after letting it simmer well in boiling water, strain thoroughly; season with salt, cumin seed, oil, and wheat-flour; then put it on the fire again, and let it simmer for a time, after which take it off to cool. Whilst drinking this potion every morning, during the course of treatment, let your principal food be Cabbage.' In surgery, likewise, Cabbage was esteemed by Cato as "the sovran'st thing on earth for bruises, ulcers, abscesses, fistulae, and dislocations." "An injection of Cabbage-water mixed with wine restored hearing to the deaf; whilst a strong decoction of Cabbage, if inhaled at intervals throughout three days, made polypi fall out of the nose, and destroyed the roots of the disease."It should be said that other writers of repute have regarded this vegetable with much less favour.

Burton, (Anatomy of Melancholy), in the chapter entitled "Bad diet a cause of melancholy," disallows for eating, among other herbs, especially Cabbage. "It causeth troublesome dreams, and sends up black vapours to the brain." Galen, too, of all herbs condemns Cabbage. "Animce gravitatem facit" - "it brings heaviness to the soul." And, as Charles Lamb slyly adds when writing on the "Melancholy of Tailors" : "It is well known that this vegetable, Cabbage, has from the earliest periods which we can discover constituted almost the sole food of this extraordinary race of people." John Evelyn (1695), long after Cato, whilst praising the Cabbage for many curative virtues, added: "It must be confessed this vegetable is greatly to be accused for lying undigested in the stomach, and provoking eructations'.

'And Culpeper told a like tale respecting the men, and women of Cato's time: "I know not what metall their bodies were made of; this I am sure: Cabbages are extremely windy, whether you take them as meat, or as medicine! yea, as windy meat as can be eaten, unless you eat bagpipes, or bellows'.

'Dean Ramsay tells about a Scotch farmer who at a tenants' dinner was asked by a Duchess to take Cabbage, and excused himself with the delicate insinuation, "Disna' your grace find it a verra windy vegetable?" Partridge and Cabbage suit the patrician table, whilst bacon and Cabbage better please the taste, and the requirements of the man in the street.

When fresh and young, and properly cooked, Cabbages are of excellent service against scrofula, their innate sulphur being a very salutary constituent. For a swollen face, to keep applied thereto a Cabbage leaf, first made quite hot at the fire, will afford relief (the same being likewise an Irish remedy for a sore throat), emollient warmth being thus secured, together with certain antiseptic exhalations from the steamy leaf. Also, if laid over a blistered surface, a large leaf of common white Cabbage, gently bruised, will promote a free discharge from the denuded skin; similarly, too, when placed next the skin in dropsy of the ankles.

Fermented white Cabbage was a well-known dish of the old Romans; and one of our early rustic authors advised to eat a plateful of this sour dish for dessert, "which would so quickly digest the dinner just swallowed that another such meal might be relished immediately afterwards, and eaten with impunity".

For the production of this so-called Saner-kraut the white Cabbage is shredded, mixed with salt in fine powder sufficient to produce a good pickle, then placed in a barrel, or other such vessel, in a compressed state, and allowed to undergo the lactic acid, or sour milk fermentation, by which the sugar becomes transformed into lactic acid, whilst giving to the product its name of "Sour Cabbage." In the Sauer-kraut of Germany the Cabbages are similarly allowed to ferment, so that by bacterial development the vegetable starch becomes converted into sugar, and then into vinegar. When prepared for cooking, Sauer-kraut has to be washed, and thus relieved of its excess of acid; it is next stewed with butter, or some other wholesome, and palatable fat, and some standard broth, or stock, and when it is nearly-done a little good wine is generally added. "The acme of all accompaniments" (says Dr. Thudicum), "not even excepting roast pheasant, is roast partridge with Sauer-kraut."The juice of red Cabbage, made with sugar into a syrup, but excluding all condiments, is of excellent remedial service in bronchial asthma, and for chronic coughs. Pliny commended the juice of a raw Cabbage, together with a little honey, for sore and inflamed eyes, when moist and weeping, but not when dry, and dull.

For the scrofulous, mattery eye-inflammation of infants, after the eyes have been cleansed thoroughly every half-hour with warm water, their sockets should then be packed repeatedly with fresh young Cabbage-leaves cleaned, and bruised to a soft pulp. The flow of mattery pus will be increased for the first few days, but presently a cure will become effected. To strengthen weak eyes a poultice is employed in Hampshire, and applied cold, being made of bread-crust, and garden snails without the shells. "Cabbages in general," as Evelyn supposed, "are thought to allay fumes, and prevent intoxication; but some will have them noxious to the sight; whilst others impute this harm to the Cauliflower, about which question the learned are not agreed." Oliver Wendell Holmes, when growing old (in 1888), wrote: "My eyes are getting dreadfully dim: one of them has, I fear, though I don't quite know, a cataract in the kitten state of development".

In 1772, on Septuagesima Sunday, "a printed paper was handed by a footman in mourning to each grande dame on her leaving the Church of St. Sulpice, Paris, which paper contained a recipe for stewing red Cabbage, this proceeding being carried out in accordance with a provision of the will of the Duchesse d'Orleans, who had died on the previous day." It appeared that Louis the Fifteenth was so passionately fond of this dish that Madame de Pompadour, when she wished to specially please him, prepared it with her own hands. Sydney Smith (1840), in a letter from Green Street, London, said: "I have heard from Mrs. Grote, who is very well, and amusing herself with Horticulture, and Democracy, - the most approved methods of growing Cabbages, and destroying Kings." Thomas Carlyle, comparing by parable the Cabbage (which of all plants grows most quickly to completion) with the majestic Oak (which takes years to become fully grown), has conveyed the lesson that those animate beings which are the slowest in their gradual progress to maturity, are found when at length they reach perfection, to have become the most richly endowed.

The word Cabbage means literally the "firm head," or " ball," formed by the compact leaves turning closely over each other into a globular form; from which circumstance tailors, who formerly worked at the private houses of their customers, were said to "cabbage" pieces of cloth rolled up tightly into a handy ball, instead of the list, and shreds which they might more fairly consider their due.

Sea Cabbage "Sea Colewort," Or "Kale" Crambe Maritima

Sea Cabbage "Sea Colewort," Or "Kale" Crambe Maritima,, (not the Brassica oleracea), is remarkable as being a soda plant; this mineral, or earth-salt, prevailing over the potash in its ash, and making it unsuitable for gouty persons. Brussel sprouts, which are dwarf Cabbages, go by the name in Northamptonshire of Buffelgreens.