Amish Coleslaw: cool, creamy slaw is a staple in most Amish cook's summer food arsenal. There are as many variations on slaw as there is in Amish communities. An Amish man in Virginia was using his muscle to grind and shred thick heads of cabbage into what would eventually be made into slaw. Here is what Wikipedia says about slaw:
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 mayonnaisewas 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.
I'll admit that coleslaw is not my favorite dish, but I've developed a grudging taste for some variations and versions. Amish culinary traditions definitely include a lot of slaw variations. There are traditional creamy coleslaw, crunchy ones, liquidy ones, basically a slaw for every occasion. Almost every Amish church gathering, wedding supper, funeral meal, and so on will include a slaw on the menu. Often the cabbage comes right from a nearby garden. Here is a favorite coleslaw recipe and below is a favorite from the Amish Cook archives.
- 8 cups green cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 5 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cabbage and carrots. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and stir until smooth and well–incorporated. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until the vegetables are evenly coated. Refrigerate the coleslaw overnight before serving.