One would think that coleslaw is a modern dish, but shredded cabbage mixed with vinaigrettes dates to ancient Rome.
It wasn’t until the 1600s that coleslaw was documented in records in the Netherlands. It was called koosla, which means “cabbage salad.”
When Dutch immigrants began coming to America in the early 18th century, they brought a lot of food customs with them. One was koosla, a dish that eventually became a part of American cuisine. The name was anglicized to “coleslaw” or “cold slaw.”
Coleslaw is a salad made of thinly shredded raw cabbage. I usually add chopped onion, carrots, radishes, and green peppers to the blend.
There are many different dressings that can be applied. Most of the familiar coleslaw dressing recipes call for mayonnaise. Added ingredients can vary widely. Some people will add ketchup or mustard to the dressing. One of the best versions I tasted had Sriracha in the creamy mixture.
Innovative cooks and chefs will add unusual ingredients such as curry, jicama, sesame seeds, fennel, and Granny Smith apples to their slaw.
Coleslaw is usually eaten as a side dish. It is very good with barbecued meats, hamburgers and fish. It can also be used as a sandwich ingredient. In this part of the country, people will eat barbecue pork sandwiched topped with slaw or the iconic West Virginia hot dog with chili, onion, and slaw.
For years, I used a commercial brand of coleslaw dressing. My mother was not a cook and rarely made anything from scratch. The dressing I knew and liked came from a bottle.
During the recent quarantine, I did not want to risk going to the grocery store for one ingredient. As the cabbage ripened in the garden, I searched for dressing recipes on the internet.
I finally found one that was so good that it is now included in my recipe files. It is cheaper to make than the purchased dressing and I think it is even more delicious. Thanks to my resourcefulness during the pandemic, I probably will never buy coleslaw dressing again.
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard seed
Whisk all of the ingredients together.
Pour over shredded cabbage or coleslaw blend.