Misery doesn't always reign over here at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell. Since I just had to type out that ridiculous title to this blog, I think I should apprise those of you who are new readers why it's so unwieldy. Then I'll tell ya'll about the titular Reuben Casserole. When I started this blog almost exactly six years ago, I thought it was going to be a little poetry, a little parenting, a little of this and a little of that. I didn't know blogs from War and Peace, so I gave it a line from one of my favorite W.B. Yeats poems. The poem is called Adam's Curse, and I'd venture to say that some of the lines are the most beautiful in the English language, particularly when you say them out loud.
Here, try it:
We sat together at one summer’s end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.’
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There’s many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, ‘To be born woman is to know—
Although they do not talk of it at school—
That we must labour to be beautiful.’
I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’
We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.
I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
Did you sigh, particularly after that penultimate verse?
Anywho. This casserole is outrageous, especially if you like a reuben. Vegetarians, vegans and bottled Thousand Island dressing haters need read no further.
1 32 oz. jar of sauerkraut
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound Swiss/Gruyere cheese, grated
3/4 lb. sliced pastrami (or corned beef), cut up roughly
1 giant bottle of Thousand Island dressing (I got Ken's Steakhouse brand under the illusion/delusion that it's less chemical-y than the standard brand) or 2 cups
6 slices of Rye Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Drain sauerkraut and rinse.
2. In a large bowl, combine sauerkraut, onions, caraway seeds.
3. Spread mixture evenly into the bottom of a casserole dish.
4. Top with half of the cheese, half of the salad dressing and all of the pastrami. Top with the remaining salad dressing and the remaining cheese.
5. In a large bowl toss the bread cubes with the melted butter to coat. Sprinkle bread cubes over casserole.
6. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until heated through and bread cubes are browned.
Knock yourself out.