Coleslaw in many variations

My family loves to eat coleslaw. Unfortunately, we can never agree on the recipe. If I am making a slaw that my mother or sister will eat, I try to make a certain recipe with mayonnaise and lemon juice; if I make it for my lunch or for a picnic, I make an entirely different recipe loaded with onions and herbs. Craig Claiborne likes to put caraway seeds in coleslaw. Betty Crocker suggests pineapple and marshmallows.

The Joy of Cooking wants you to dress the slaw immediately before serving, while Betty Crocker and Spice Islands want you to refrigerate for several hours. The only rule seems to be to use fresh cabbage.

Here's the generic recipe, with several variations.


(Serves 8)


  1. Cut the core out of the cabbage and cut it into pieces. My mother likes to cut it into big pieces; I like to cut it into little pieces. I think she wants to make certain that nobody will accuse her of having used a food processor.
  2. Mix the pepper and lemon juice and onion in with the cabbage.
  3. Add the mayonnaise, mix well, and refrigerate.


Vary the amount of mayonnaise according to how much you are worried about calories. Vary the amount of onion if you do or don't like raw onion.

When I make coleslaw for my mother or sister, I leave out the onion and the black pepper, and put in 1 Tbsp of sugar.

When I make slaw for a picnic or barbecue or someplace where subtlety will not be rampant, I add 1/2 tsp of dry mustard, 2 tsp of paprika, and 1/2 tsp of celery or caraway seed. If I'm trying to astonish somebody, I will add nuts, cheese, tarragon, whipping cream, chives, whole grapes, frozen peas, Tabasco sauce, coriander seed, diced apples, or other herbs or textural-contrast ingredients. I have not yet had the nerve to try the Betty Crocker suggestion of omitting the onion and then adding 1/2 lb of chopped pineapple and 1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows.


Difficulty: easy.
Time: 10 minutes.
Precision: no need to measure.


Brian Reid 
DEC Western Research Lab, Palo Alto CA 
reid@decwrl.DEC.COM -or- {ihnp4,ucbvax,decvax,sun}!decwrl!reid 
Recipe last modified: 13 May 86

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Path: decwrl!recipes
From: reid@decwrl.UUCP (Brian Reid)
Subject: RECIPE: Cole slaw
Message-ID: <3008@decwrl.DEC.COM>
Date: 16 May 86 03:40:53 GMT
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