One of America’s Favorites – Coleslaw

May 20, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Coleslaw made with mayonnaise

Coleslaw (from the Dutch term koolsla meaning ‘cabbage salad’), also known as cole slaw or slaw, is a salad consisting primarily of finely-shredded raw cabbage] with a salad dressing, commonly either vinaigrette or mayonnaise. Coleslaw prepared with vinaigrette may benefit from the long lifespan granted by pickling.

The term “coleslaw” arose in the 18th century as an anglicisation of the Dutch term “koolsla” (“kool” in Dutch sounds like “cole”) meaning “cabbage salad”. The “cole” part of the word comes from the Latin colis, meaning “cabbage”.

The 1770 recipe book The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World contains a recipe attributed to the author’s Dutch landlady, who mixed thin strips of cabbage with melted butter, vinegar, and oil. The recipe for coleslaw as it is most commonly prepared is fairly young, as mayonnaise was invented during the mid-18th century.

According to The Joy of Cooking (1997), raw cabbage is the only entirely consistent ingredient in coleslaw; the type of cabbage, dressing, and added ingredients vary widely. Vinaigrette, mayonnaise, and sour cream based dressings are all listed; bacon, carrots, bell peppers, pineapple, pickles, onions, and herbs are specifically mentioned as possible added ingredients.

In America, what most think of as today’s coleslaw originated with the arrival and creation of mayonnaise in the 18th century, but many international coleslaws don’t contain mayonnaise — or even cabbage. Coleslaws can be a light crunchy blend of julienne or grated vegetables tossed in vinaigrette, or shredded vegetables with nonfat Greek yogurt combined with spices and herbs.

Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish with foods such as fried chicken and barbecued meats and may be accompanied by French fries or potato salad as another side dish. It also may be used as a sandwich ingredient, being placed on barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs along with chili and hot mustard. A vinegar-based coleslaw is the signature ingredient to a Primanti Brothers sandwich. Coleslaw also is used on a variant of the Reuben sandwich, with coleslaw substituting for the sauerkraut; the sandwich is commonly called a Rachel to differentiate it from the Reuben.

Coleslaw has an extremely low glycemic index (cabbage 10) and glycemic load (cabbage 0.58) and is rich in fiber.

Purple cabbage coleslaw

There are many variations of the recipe, which include the addition of other ingredients such as red cabbage, pepper, shredded carrots, onion, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple, mixed with a salad dressing such as mayonnaise or cream. A variety of seasonings, such as celery seed, may be added. The cabbage may come in finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares. Other slaw variants include broccoli slaw, which uses shredded raw broccoli in place of the cabbage. Cream, sour cream, or buttermilk are also popular additions. Buttermilk coleslaw is most commonly found in the southern United States.

In the United States, coleslaw often contains buttermilk, mayonnaise or mayonnaise substitutes, and carrot, although many regional variations exist, and recipes incorporating prepared mustard or vinegar without the dairy and mayonnaise are also common. Barbecue slaw, also known as red slaw, is made using ketchup and vinegar rather than mayonnaise. It is frequently served alongside North Carolina barbecue, including Lexington style barbecue, where, unlike in the rest of the state, a red slaw is the prevailing variety.

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