1 head of cabbage
Stuffing or dressing
Get a fine head of cabbage, not too large; pour boiling water on [it], and cover it till you can turn the leaves back, which you must do carefully; take some of those in the middle of the head off, chop them fine, and mix them with rich forcemeat; put this in, and replace the leaves to confine the stuffing; tie it in a cloth, and boil it. Serve it up whole, with a little melted butter in the dish.
From The Virginia Housewife, or Methodical Cook, by Mary Randolph, 1824.
Comment: It is a testimony to the scientific notion of “convergent evolution” that we find nearly identical recipes to this one in the ethnic traditions of nearly every part of the world in which cabbage is grown. The only variants are the specifics of the stuffing–and recipes can be found for forcemeats based on everything from ham to veal to rabbit and beyond–and what if any sauce or liquid is used to surround the dish at serving. The act of wrapping this item in a cloth and boiling it is what conveys the status of “pudding,” a word whose meaning has clearly evolved from that time to this.