Happy Independence Day! July 4th is my favorite holiday because it’s the start of summer, there is usually a fun party to go to, and we are free to celebrate the American way with a delicious family style potluck meal. And the spectacular fireworks aren’t too shabby either!
I usually bring the coleslaw to the party. I make mine from scratch instead of buying the prepared stuff, mostly because it’s easy and enjoyable to make, and I don’t like ones with a ton of dressing added, so making mine at home gives me control over what goes in it. Also, because there are so many variations of coleslaw, I like to change it up every year and experiment with different tastes, textures and flavors. I offer it up not only because it’s delicious, but actually nutritious too. Most of the time it tends to be a lower calorie and higher fiber option than alternatives, like macaroni salad and potato salad, when there aren’t gobbs of dressing mixed into it.
“Coleslaw” is a Dutch recipe originating from 1770. According to NPR’s Deb Perelman, “the Dutch who founded New York state grew cabbage around the Hudson River that they used in a shredded cabbage salad they called koosla (kool means cabbage and sla is salad),” and “the first recipe was shredded raw cabbage tossed in melted butter, vinegar and oil.” However, the variation we mostly commonly know is about 250 years old, concocted after mayonnaise was invented.
Yet, these days you don’t have to stick to tradition. Coleslaw can be made with buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Or, Asian style with soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger, and by substituting shredded broccoli and sugar snap peas for the cabbage. Or stick with cabbage- on average there are four different kinds in the grocery store. And so, there are lots of options out there to change it up while still offering something tasty and nutritious to your friends and family.
I experimented with a variation of coleslaw the other day that I made with green cabbage, creamy yogurt vinaigrette, diced apples and caraway seeds, which was sweet, tangy and extra crunchy. I think I’ll bring this kind to the party this year. Yummy!
Happy 4th of July feasting with your friends and family.