Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kool sla, Kohlslau, Coleslaw!

Cabbage is low in calories, helps prevent cancer, is thought to aid in weight loss, and is very inexpensive. People have been eating cabbage as far back as the ancient Romans and Greeks. As the Roman empire spread northward, so did the love of cabbage. As cabbage spread, each culture added their own local ingredients to create diverse flavor preferences. The Romans liked it bathed in vinegar, the British liked it quartered and stewed in broth, the Germans liked it shredded and pickled to make sauerkraut, but it was the Dutch who brought it to the American northeast with a boiled cream and flour dressing by the name of "kool sla." Yes, we can thank the Dutch for cole slaw, one of our favorite sides to any barbecue, with sandwiches, and picnics! However, according to Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook, by Robb Walsh, "American cole slaw comes from the German kohlslau," and was brought to Texas by a steady stream of German immigration during the 1800s. We can also thank NYC deli owner Richard Hellman, who in 1912, began selling his bottled version of mayonnaise. The classic blue bow bottle became an instant bestseller and cole slaw has never been more popular!

The variations of recipes from country to country is truly impressive, but I like mine Texas barbecue joint-style, which is made in it's purist form. Shredded and simply dressed with vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, salt and pepper. No celery seed, no mustard, no celery salt, no onion, and definitely no peppers! The result is a perfect balance of creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet that tastes exceedingly fresh and surprisingly delicious. I like to serve it with Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Mrs. Ps Cornbread, as well as Memphis-Style Spareribs.

Cole Slaw

Makes 8-10 servings


6 cups shredded cabbage (about 1 head)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*Additions: Shredded carrots are a traditional addition that I like. Shredded apples are a German addition that is particularly good with pork.


Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and allow to mellow in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

Recipe from Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook, by Robb Walsh.

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