Laying Down the Slaw
If you’re one of those people whose usual encounters with coleslaw are weirdly tangy prepacked ones, or the fast food ones which are more mayo than veggies, here’s something different, tasty, and healthy to spice up your side dish needs… or if you’re just going to eat this delicious ‘slaw by itself, we can’t say we blame you.
The word “coleslaw” originated in the 18th Century from the Dutch world “koolsla”, which means “cabbage salad”. It can be traced all the way back to the ancient Romans, who had a recipe for a salad with cabbage, vinegar, eggs, and spices. There’s a recipe for coleslaw was in the 1770 cookbook The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World, where thin strips of cabbage were mixed with melted butter, vinegar, and oil. This made slaw a bit of a pre-mayo recipe: mayo as we know it was only used in the 1800s as a dressing, and the term “mayonnaise” was pretty much only in use around the 1820s. Nowadays there are many, many variations of coleslaw across the world, though the popular version is the American version, commonly seen as a companion side in a BBQ.
- Eat up, eat up! Coleslaw doesn’t really improve with age. Eat it up while it’s crunchy and fresh. This is why the version you’re making is going to be way better than what you can buy in a packet. Make it just before you’re about to eat, or the veggies might get limp and soggy.
- Don’t overdo the dressing: If your veggies are swimming in sauce, you’re drowning them.
- Innovate. Want to switch things up? Try fennel, or a dash of apple cider vinegar, or a bit of dijon mustard. Or crumble in some cheese. Coarse Parmesan gratings, crumbled ricotta, the works. Spice things up with some jalapeno, cilantro, or pepper. As with delicious food, have a bit of fun and things will taste better. Happy eating!