July 4th Favorites: Coleslaw and Pie
Coleslaw is from the Dutch word, koolsla. Kool meaning cabbage and sla the word for salad. Early Dutch settlers grew cabbage along the banks of the Hudson river in New York and made slaw from their harvest as early as 1785. This Dutch slaw was in a vinegary dressing. American slaw evolved from this.
There are many popular American versions of slaw some with mayo dressings, cooked dressings, and some light vinegar dressings too. Whether to pre-treat the cabbage beforehand is a source of debate. Some will shred and soak in cold water. Others will douse with salt and let sit for an hour then rinse and drain. Yet others say it’s not necessary and just forge on with the recipe. Cutting the cabbage and letting it drain actually does help prevent a watery dressing. Adding 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and ¼ cup apple cider vinegar to enough water to cover the cut cabbage then letting it set for 30 minutes to an hour improves the flavor, texture, and once drained and wrung out, keeps the cabbage from watering down the dressing.
Of course, after the meal we have to have something sweet to finish off our feast. Nothing is as American as pie.Is it really unique to the U.S.? No, ancient civilizations had their versions of pie. Pie as we know it, sweet, can be traced to the 1300s. Pie is so popular in America, there is even a saying associated with pie and patriotism: …as American as baseball, hotdogs, and apple pie. This quote, somewhat paraphrased, can be traced back to the 1920s. It reached its peak in popularity during WWII when it was paraphrased, “…as American as Uncle Sam, hotdogs, and apple pie.”