Savoring the Seasons: Definition of a slaw

  • Though most slaws you’ll encounter are shredded with a grater or food processor, a sharp knife makes a beautifully thin julienne of myriad vegetables. TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

For The Recorder
Published: 9/19/2017 10:51:31 AM

When I was growing up, the only kind of slaw I knew was coleslaw. I remember my mother making it with a combination of shredded cabbage and carrots and some kind of mayonnaise-like dressing. I’d never heard of any other kind of slaw.

As an adult, I came across other cabbage-based slaws, often with lighter oil and vinegar dressing. I have enjoyed many shredded vegetable salads, like the wonderful carrot and beet salad that John Hoffman from Wilder Brook Farm makes for potlucks. I never thought of those as slaws.

Recently, I helped my friends, Yvonne Crevier and Caroline Gould, put the huge tarp cover over their boat barn. Yvonne is a gourmet cook and she and Caroline are the queens of feeding their helpers at work parties well. When we took a break from our work, we ate a yummy meal of grilled chicken and a unique slaw.

Exclaiming over the slaw, we asked what made it taste so fresh and lively. That led to a discussion of the definition of slaw. Does it have to include cabbage?

Clearly, there is a world of slaws beyond my childhood coleslaw. We agreed that slaws are any mixture of finely chopped veggies with some kind of dressing. That leaves much room for creativity. Yvonne likes to julienne turnips in her winter slaws and adds fresh herbs to slaws in the winter because it makes it taste “like it’s not winter.”

That meal made me more slaw-conscious. So, while at Green Fields Market, I noticed a slaw recipe in the national co-op magazine using other vegetables and a different dressing.

Then, I went to dinner at Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Gill with my friends Grace Edwards from Sunderland and Karis Post who is about to move to Greenfield. They both had dishes that included the Wagon Wheel’s crisp, freshly made coleslaw, so I asked them about their favorite slaws.

Post said she often makes a slaw for lunch to take to work. She based it on one she’d bought at a grocery store at some point. It includes kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, carrots and sometimes onions. She makes a dressing with a 1 T. of homemade mayo (coconut oil, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon juice) mixed with ½ tsp. of vinegar and 5 drops of stevia (or some honey or maple syrup). She said the sweetener takes the edge off the vinegar. She likes to add dried cranberries or raisins to it.

Edwards said she likes a broccoli slaw made with broccoli that’s been sent through one of those “vegetable spaghetti makers” or shredded with a food processor. She said she would like to try Post’s dressing for a broccoli slaw. Edwards said for onions in slaw, a little goes a long way. Before blending sliced onions into a slaw, she soaks the onions in cold water for up to an hour to mellow them.

What slaws have you known and loved? I hope you’ll share your recipes with me.

This week we’re eating ...

Gingery Slaw: By Yvonne Crevier, Leverett


Cabbage, knife shredded

Carrots, cut into matchstick sized pieces

Daikon radish, sliced

Fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing:

Sunflower oil

Rice vinegar

Grated ginger, salt

1 clove of minced garlic (optional)


Toss vegetables together with dressing.

Cucumber and Fennel Slaw: From


⅓ C. fresh orange juice

1 T. olive oil

1 T. apple cider vinegar

2 T. orange zest

1 T. garlic

1 cucumber, julienned

1 small fennel bulb, julienned

½ C. julienned red bell pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste


In a large mixing bowl, stir together the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, zest and garlic. Then, add the prepared vegetables and mix together gently.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Serves 6.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book indexer. Send column suggestions and recipes to:


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