Whitesburg KY

Vinegar and soda does trick

Points East

I learned long ago that the best way unstop a clogged-up kitchen sink does not involve a commode plunger. I have resorted to such means in fits of desperation a few times and later found myself at Bluegrass Hardware purchasing new pipes and traps and such because it doesn’t take much pressure to demolish the plumbing under a kitchen sink.

Nor, at least in my experience, are chemicals of much utility. The only thing I’ve ever seen name-your-favorite-brand of liquid pipe opener do is make matters worse and create awful odors.

Actually, I did once use some stuff called Liquid Fire that lived up to its name. When it came in contact with whatever had stopped up the sink, the PVC pipe melted, about a quart of stuff ran out on the kitchen floor, and about a square yard of linoleum bubbled up like a torch had been taken to it before I could stop the stuff from spreading any further.

Anyway, Elaine Adams gave us two huge heads of cabbage awhile back and I had stashed them in the old refrigerator in my garage where I keep nightcrawlers. Don’t be alarmed. The worms are in containers from which they can’t escape so they were of no threat to the cabbage and as far as I know, cabbage doesn’t bother the worms.

What I do know is that if your cabbage is nice and dry and you store in a cold, dark place it will, except for the very outer wrap leaves, turn snow white within a couple or three weeks. It’ll actually keep much longer than that, but between two and three weeks is enough to make it perfect for sauerkraut.

And kraut is about the only way I like my cabbage. I can take a mess or two of cabbage steamed and buttered if it is garden fresh and I like a little coleslaw with my soup beans or fried chicken once in awhile, but I can’t imagine living in a world without kraut.

Last weekend Loretta got up bright and early on Saturday morning and I heard the food chopper running like a buzz saw. She doesn’t want me around when it comes time to make kraut because she says I make too much of a mess and that I get in too big a hurry.

This is a fine situation as far as I am concerned. I don’t care who makes it as long as they make plenty of it because I keep a jar open in the refrigerator 365 days a year and my favorite way to eat it is cold, straight out of the jar. I even drink the juice its canned in.

I messed around outside for an hour doing yard work until the sun started getting hot and when I came back in the kitchen table was covered with quart jars of the prettiest kraut you ever saw, but Loretta was fussing over the sink. Both sides were stopped up tight as a drum and I figured my day was ruined. I figured I was going to be on my back taking out the plumbing because it was obvious that much chopped cabbage had gotten into the drain.

While I was fussing, Loretta took a box of baking soda out the cabinet and emptied about half of it into the sink drains and let it settle for a minute or two. Then she took the gallon jug of vinegar she’d been using in the kraut endeavor and poured a cup or so right on top of the soda.

“Honey,” I said, “you’ve been working for the Extension Service and reading Hints from Heloise way too long. All you’re doing is wasting perfectly good soda and vinegar because nothing is on fire. You may as well help me find a pipe wrench.”

In the meantime, the sink drains fizzed, foamed and gurgled and then all of a sudden one of them burped very loudly and they drained like pouring water out of a bucket.

You could have pushed me over with your little finger. There was absolutely nothing I could say so I wordlessly slunk out of the kitchen like an eggsucking dog caught with his head in the nest.

But the next time I’m in the grocery store I aim see if they will cut me a deal on a case of Arm & Hammer and several gallons of white vinegar.

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