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Coleslaw is a food that is often taken for granted. The side dish seems to be treated with almost condiment status as it is generally served free with various meals in restaurants. So let’s take a moment to enjoy a closer look at this staple of American mealtime.
Ancient Romans are known to have eaten shredded cabbage with vinegar, spices and eggs, yet the term “coleslaw” is thought to be from the Dutch word “koolsa,” “kool” meaning cabbage and “sla” meaning salad. Mayonnaise itself came around in the 18th century, so what we know as coleslaw might be about 200 years old.
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and of vitamin A. It’s also rich in phytochemicals that serve as antioxidants to help protect against various forms of cancer and help reduce LDL (“bad cholesterol”) in the body. The leafy green is also loaded with vitamin K, offering about 63% of the recommended daily allowance.
To add a little spice to this somewhat mild-tasting dish, here’s a recipe from Jacques Pepin for Curry Coleslaw via the New York Times. To get a lower fat count, feel free to substitute any of the lower fat mayos out there (I personally like these better, as they don’t squash the flavor of the rest of the ingredients). Keep your clothes neat while you eat with Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Natural Paper Napkins.
- 1 small cabbage or 1/2 large cabbage head (1 3/4 pounds)
- 2 carrots (6 ounces), peeled
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
1. Trim the cabbage, removing and discarding any damaged parts, and shred it on a slicer or by cutting it into thin slices with a sharp knife. (You should have 8 to 9 lightly packed cups of cabbage.) Shred the carrots. (You should have 1 ½ lightly packed cups of carrots.)
2. In a bowl large enough to hold the finished coleslaw, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, poppy seeds, Tabasco and curry powder. Add the cabbage and carrots, and mix well. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. The coleslaw will keep for up to one day.
Photo: Gordon Joly