Not all coleslaws are created equal, as magazine intern Elizabeth Laseter—who grew up in Charlotte, NC, and is attending John Hopkins University—has discovered. Here are her comments.
I’ve noticed that coleslaw in the Baltimore area is simply not the same as the kind I enjoyed as a kid. The slaw that I love is simple, consisting of chopped red and green cabbage, carrots, and either vinegar or mayonnaise as a base.
When my parents came to visit for the Fourth of July weekend, we couldn’t find the kind of coleslaw we like in grocery stores for our picnic as we watched the fireworks over the Washington Monument in D.C. According to my father, who lived most of his life in the South, the enjoyment of salads—including potato salad, egg salad, and coleslaw—on our nation’s founding holiday is essential.
When my family returned home to Charlotte, my parents prepared their version of a Southern meal, including coleslaw, to make up for what they missed on the Fourth.
Here's my mom’s recipe, adapted from epicurious.com, for our favorite coleslaw.
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium green cabbage and 1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced (total sliced cabbage about 6 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded
Combine vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, and celery seeds in non-aluminum medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and dressing comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely.
Quarter, core, and thinly slice cabbages. Place in large bowl with shredded carrot. Add dressing; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate until cold, tossing occasionally, at least two hours. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover; keep refrigerated.) Serves eight.