By Tommy C. Simmons
The Associated Press
Food historians agree that the word "coleslaw" is taken from the Dutch words for cool cabbage or cabbage salad, but they know little about the history of the salad otherwise.
David Rosengarten says in his new cookbook, It's All American Food, "Coleslaw has been with us in America for a very, very long time."
It is also a salad with no regional bias. Cooks in the North, South, East and West include coleslaw recipes in their regional community cookbooks.
Until now about the only ingredient coleslaw recipes had in common was finely chopped or shredded cabbage. The coleslaw dressing was and is the distinguishing factor in determining the type of slaw preferred.
Damon Lee Fowler maintains in his cookbook, Classical Southern Cooking: A Celebration of the Cuisine of the Old South, that finely chopping cabbage is necessary to achieve wonderful-tasting coleslaw.
His favorite coleslaw is dressed simply with a little homemade mayonnaise, salt and coarsely ground black pepper. But here is what he says about the cabbage preparation:
"Sit down at the kitchen table to make this slaw, or you'll wear your shoulders out. Using a sharp knife and a large cutting board, cut the cabbage first into quarters and then into small chips, no longer than 1 inch and about 1/4-inch wide. The chips should not be too small; nor should they be long and stringy. You can't use a machine, because there isn't one that will make the chips the right size. Now you know why you have to sit down."
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 cup julienned tart green apple
1/2 cup julienned carrot
1/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup halved green or red grapes,
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
11/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Mix together all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl. Makes 4 servings.
Sweet coleslaws with sugary dressings. They often include pineapple, apple or raisins and sometimes peanuts besides the shredded cabbage.
Tart coleslaws with vinegar-based dressings. These cabbage coleslaws have a tangy taste and are often served with fried fish.
Spicy coleslaws with mustard and sometimes horseradish-flavored creamy dressings. They usually contain onions and bell pepper, as well as cabbage.
Exotic coleslaws. These may not contain any cabbage, but they are called coleslaw because of the way ingredients are finely chopped and tossed together.
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