Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Type or Write "Coleslaw" a Few Times, and You'll Wonder If It's Even the Right Word! It is - and here's why...

Do you ever write or type a word a couple of times, and then it begins to look really strange to you? This happens to me a lot. I start to wonder if I've spelled a word correctly, or if I'm even using the right word at all. 

I had thoughts like this a few weeks ago, as I was publishing a recipe for coleslaw. COLESLAW. The more I typed the word, I wondered, "Is this really right? Am I spelling it wrong?"

Then, I got to thinking, "Why is this grated cabbage and carrot salad called 'coleslaw' anyway?" I'd never before questioned this, but it is an unusual word.

So, of course, I googled it.

According to the website, Culinary Lore, this dish, originally called Koolsla, found its way to America from Holland in the late seventeenth or early eighteeth century. Kool in Dutch means cabbage and Americans eventually changed it to cole. Sla comes from the Dutch abbreviation of the word salad. (Salad in Dutch is salade.)

Some people used to think the name was not coleslaw but "coldslaw," as it is usually served cold, however that is incorrect. In fact, as the article on Culinary Lore points out, a slaw (versus a coleslaw) is now considered to be "any type of dressed salad with shredded vegetables. Slaws may be sweet or savory, chilled or warm."

There does seem to be a discrepancy as to whether slaw must include cabbage as an ingredient. Culinary Lore says most slaws "tend to contain some type of cabbage." An article on Chowhound claims, "Slaw without the cole can feature any crunchy veggie in place of cabbage, including chopped or shredded broccoli, carrots, snow peas, jicama, and more."

Bowl of coleslaw resting on tri-colored napkins

I have a favorite coleslaw recipe. I'll share the recipe below, but if you want to know more about why I like it so much, you can read all about it here.

Coleslaw with Mustard and Caraway Seeds

(2 to 4 servings)

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

¼ cup Miracle Whip

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon stone ground dijon mustard

½ tablespoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

¾ teaspoon granulated sugar

freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.

For slaw:

½ of a small head of cabbage (~2½ cups, shredded)

3 large carrots

Method:

  1. In a small skillet (with no butter or oil), toast mustard seeds and caraway seeds for a few minutes over medium heat. Shake or stir occasionally, and remove the pan from the heat as soon as the seeds are fragrant and lightly toasted so they do not burn. Pour them into a dish to prevent them from cooking any further.
  2. Peel and grate carrots and shred cabbage into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Combine miracle whip, yogurt, mustard, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add cooled seeds, mix well, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add part of the prepared dressing to the ingredients in the large bowl. Stir well to incorporate the dressing completely into the slaw; keep adding more dressing until the cabbage/ carrot mixture is well coated. You will probably need all the dressing, but it is safest to add it slowly to avoid making the slaw too saucy.
  5. While you could serve this coleslaw immediately, it is best refrigerated for at least 15 minutes (or even overnight) as the flavors will intensify.
  6. Refrigerate leftover coleslaw (if there is any!)


Please keep social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, get vaccinated, and stay healthy! 😷 
This post contains affiliate links. The opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

6 comments :

  1. Sounds so good. I love cold dishes (or side dishes) on a hot summer night.

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  2. Fascinating! I always wonder where we get our words. It's so fun to actually find out. (Husby is obsessed with Etymology, so I don't often have to wonder for long!)

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  3. The various regional variations of cole slaw fascinate me so much that when I travel I try to eat local cole slaw at least once. I grew up in New York City and many delis sold Health Salad, which was a type of cole slaw - shredded cabbage and onion mixed with a vinaigrette dressing and maybe a touch of sugar. No mayo, no Miracle Whip. To me, Health Salad says "home" even though my Mom never made it - she always bought it in the deli.

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    Replies
    1. When/if I ever get back to NYC I will try Health salad. It sounds like a kind of cole slaw I would enjoy. We associate foods with so many memories, don't we?

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