1. Film a straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan with olive oil. Heat over medium high; add the onion, cabbage, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spatula, to brown the onions and get the cabbage to pick up golden edges. Adjust the heat so the pan glaze doesn’t burn.
2. Stir in the thyme, bay, apple, and half the vinegar, scraping up any glaze on the pan’s bottom. Boil the vinegar down to nothing.
3. Pour in the wine and broth, bring to a slow bubble, cover, and cook until the cabbage is nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and boil away the liquid, stirring in the remaining vinegar toward the end of the boil so it moistens the cabbage.
4. Just before serving, taste the cabbage for seasoning. Fold in the butter and mustard and serve hots.
Replace the cabbage with other vegetables or a combination of them. Try green beans, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, turnips, burdock, rutabaga, celery root, kohlrabi, kale, collards, mustard greens or potatoes. Vary the cooking time as needed.
Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, is studying whether the experience of being a virtual cow will make people feel more empathy. "[Our previous work] showed that if you had occupied the avatar of another person, you showed empathy toward them," Bailenson says. "But no one had ever tried this with another species."