One of the most quintessential sides at a great barbecue is coleslaw. Filled with green or red cabbage, mayo and vinegar, coleslaw makes for a great addition to sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos and even grilled meats. Since it can work alongside most barbecue foods, it's pretty much a staple during the summer grilling season. This tasty side may not be the main dish, but it has quite an impressive history.
Where Did Coleslaw Come From?
The origins of coleslaw can be traced all the way back to the ancient Romans, who made a dish consisting of cabbage, eggs, vinegar and spices. The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World, a Dutch cookbook from 1770, even has a recipe involving thinly sliced strips of cabbage with melted butter, oil and vinegar. Mayonnaise, a common addition to modern coleslaw, wasn't invented until 250 years later.
How Did Coleslaw Get Its Name?
You can thank the Dutch for coleslaw's name. The Dutch who established New York state grew cabbage around the Hudson river. They would make a salad out of shredded cabbage, which they called koosla. According to NPR, kool means cabbage and sla means salad.
One super easy way to make coleslaw is to use a bag of pre-cut cabbage mix and mix it with mayo, sugar, vinegar, milk and salt and pepper. But if you're up to task, you can just chop a head of green cabbage and a few carrots and combine them with mustard, mayo, celery seeds, salt and pepper.
Since coleslaw is a vegetable-based dish, it's easy to make it a healthy addition to your meal. For a healthier alternative to traditional coleslaw, forgo the mayonnaise for a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Try using green and red cabbage as well.