With only one exception (Locally Grown Gardens makes an Asian-inspired slaw, easily the best in the entire county), restaurants around here offer bland, mayonnaise-heavy shredded cabbage concoctions; there's even a TV ad from a mayo company in which a defiant loner in a diner slams his slaw onto a hamburger sandwich and proceeds to enjoy it with gusto while a voice-over announcer suggests he did so solely for the white condiment--*
But mayonnaise isn't even required. Most of the homemade slaw of my youth -- and good many of the lunch-counter versions back then -- based the slaw dressing on vinegar, sugar and water plus spices. I picked up a bag of shag-cut cabbage at the store a couple of days ago (all their instant salads were a day shy of expiring and looked it) and proceeded to make my own. Cider vinegar is better for this but I had only white vinegar. Mixing by taste, I ended up using the basics listed above plus black pepper, celery seed, a tiny pinch of salt and -- just to see how it would work out -- nutmeg.
It worked out fine, albeit needing the amount of vinegar reduced after it had sat a day, and tastes just as good as I remember.
Hey, who was Cole? He or she wasn't; it's an English-language pronunciation of the Dutch word for cabbage, kool. Cool!
* As if! The northern Indiana fast-food chain Penguin Point has offered a cabbage leaf on their burgers for years and it's way better than lettuce.
5 months ago