Anything Goes

I’m feeling restless today, as if waiting for something to happen, though I’m not sure what. Life, perhaps. Or maybe death. My father is teetering on the brink, but he is still too connected to life to want to let go and too tired of it all to want to stay. At ninety-seven, and after two months of being mostly bedridden, he’s entitled. Still, his unrest leaves its imprint on the house.

I was fine at my dance classes today, going through our Hawaiian routines, playing our Tahitian numbers (I say playing because Tahitian more than any of the others, makes me feel light and free), and practicing paradiddles and on Broadway (or Shirley Temple or Spaghetti, depending on what era you learned to tap) and putting them together with flap-ball-changes for a little tap dance. I was even fine at lunch afterward. But when I walked into this house, I was beset by restlessness. (Which is why I am late with today’s post.) Couldn’t sit still, couldn’t think, couldn’t do much of anything.)

My sister and I spent the late afternoon baking one of our family’s childhood favorites, a sort of convocation or invocation of the spirits, seeing if perhaps our deceased mother would come help with our father. He seems more settled tonight, so perhaps she came. And we had our first meal together in — hmmm. I can’t remember the last time. Since we’ve been taking turns looking after our father, we are seldom both here at the same time except at night.

We’ve had our times of not getting along — we are just too different — but tonight we were in perfect accord, she working the dough and me fixing the filling.

This isn’t exactly a recipe-type blog, but what the heck — it’s become something of a diary, so anything goes, right?

Hamburger Rolls

Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1½ teasHamburger Rollspoon salt, 3 tablespoons shortening. Add ½ cup boiling water; stir well until dissolved. Add ½ cup milk then add 1 cake yeast crumbled. Blend in 3 cups sifted flour. Let rise once until double, roll out ¼” thick, and cut in squares approximately 3”x3”. Place a couple of tablespoonfuls of hamburger/cabbage filling to in the middle of the square, fold corners of dough to the center and pinch closed. Put rolls in greased and let rise a about 30 minutes. Cook 15 to 20 minutes at 400°.


Brown 1½ lbs ground beef, skim off grease. Slice cabbage (that had been boiled until tender) and some onion, add to ground beef. Season with parsley flakes, salt, pepper. Cook with cover on for 10 minutes.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.


9 Responses to “Anything Goes”

  1. Cicy Rosado Says:

    sounds good almost like a sloppy joe, different filling!

  2. Paula Kaye Says:

    My mother used to make these for us when I was young. We loved them. We called them cabbage rolls. I didn’t discover there were ‘other’ cabbage rolls until I was much older. When I make these now I use Rhodes frozen rolls and put them in muffin tins and then after the first rising I just spoon in the filling and flip them over for the bake. Much easier!

  3. dellanioakes Says:

    I haven’t made them in ages. I think one of my boys doesn’t like them. Probably the youngest. I LOVE them, I will fix them soon. Thanks for sharing this with me, Pat!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’ve been eating them cold tonight. They make a nice snack. I still find it amusing we were both going to include the same recipe in “Second Helpings.”

      • dellanioakes Says:

        It is a recipe that brings back lots of memories for us both. I will probably hold off making them until it gets cooler. It’s wretchedly hot right now. UGH

  4. katsheridan Says:

    These sound wonderful! And I totally get that hovering, waiting, dreading and hoping all at the same time. My father passed away in April. You hate to see them go and at the same time want them relieved of their misery. Baking sounds like a wonderful solution. I believe that in stressful times, women wll either cook or clean. And I’m so glad you got to dance, especially the lovely rythms of Tahiti.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s a stressful time. Luckily, I have dancing. It’s great to be able to leave everything at the door of the studio. The only problem is the problems hitch a ride back.

      I’m sorry about your father.

  5. Andrea Rose Says:

    Here in Nebraska they have something similar called a Runza. Thank you for the recipe, Pat.

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