Jun 21 2015

Father’s Day comes but once a year, but thoughts of Daddy go on forever. Whenever I make his world famous Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe, I know he’s nearby, helping me get it just right.

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My Dad loved to entertain. The son of a well known hostess, my grandmother, Daddy had grown up on the thrill and satisfaction of planning social affairs. In his later years, he loved bringing happiness to those around him, coming up with novel party touches for our gathered fun-seekers. When a get-together was planned at our home, therefore, a flurry of activity would ensue. First and foremost was the menu, as food and beverages were the star attractions.

Menu planning, therefore, was the reason my Dad clipped recipes constantly. From the newspaper; from any magazine that crossed his path; from a dish he favored at a restaurant that, “required,” he call the Chef to the dining room for a consultation, he was obsessed with having recipe resource files handy for ready reference. He wanted to be able to produce just the right treat at just the right time, to dependably provide what any social situation demanded, at a moment’s notice. Now, we must remember this was in the 1980s and 90s, before the widespread Internet, much less Pinterest, so keeping track of favorite foods required proactive forethought and a filing system.

And, what a filing system he had! Boxes and boxes of 3″ x 5″ cards in plastic file boxes filling up the bottom of a bookcase near his reading chair. Directly next to his chair was a table with a drawer holding his “clipping” supplies: an X-acto knife to accurately cut out the recipe, fresh 3″ x 5″ cards and a roll of Scotch Magic Tape. While the family talked after dinner, Daddy would be clipping and filing, delighted with his latest conquests and acquisitions. He would excitedly interrupt conversation to read recipes, wanting to see if they, “sounded good,” as we would, “Ooh!,” and, “Ah!,” his latest find.

My Dad's Ultimate Cole Slaw, recent recreations (click to enlarge)Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw, recently recreated (click to enlarge)

And, things proceeded predictably in such a fashion for years. The quiet rattling of the Washington Post Newspaper Wednesday Food Section, along with the opening and closing of the drawer in the table next to his chair. This, comfortably blanketed by the flickering cocoon of the TV screen, made for pleasant evenings, and now, warm memories. It was an idyllic suburban scene, that is, it was…until he became even more acutely obsessed with one particular dish: Cole Slaw.

How it happened and why it happened, I cannot be sure. There is a good chance he was refused the revelation of a Cole Slaw recipe at a church supper, and became determined to recreate the elusive dish. But, all I know is he started buying cabbages. Lots of cabbages. The cabbages marched into the refrigerator with carrots and seemingly endless jars of mayonnaise, followed by a legion or  two of fresh lemons. These were his art materials, and my grandmother’s Pyrex mixing bowls were his canvas.

Cole Slaw, he had decided was the perfect pot luck supper dish. It was inexpensive to make; was healthy and, “provided roughage.” That was Daddy’s Cole Slaw strategy. And, when one stopped to think about it, Cole Slaw was indeed the perfect side dish, fitting into any church supper array of serving tabled fancies.

And, so the search began. 3″ x 5″ file boxes were no longer adequate. He moved to taping Cole Slaw recipes to 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper. As he made a recipe in the kitchen, if it made the cut, it remained unsullied, but if it was rejected, it was crossed off, right through it, with a mighty, “X.” This frantic quest went on for months, but as the research continued, he began to fine tune his efforts.

He said he wanted a natural Cole Slaw, with a cold, not cooked dressing. One with a lemon, not vinegar base. He wanted the creaminess of mayonnaise, but not to have it, too “mayonnaisey,” because, “All that fat makes me sick.” He liked adding celery seeds, but not too many. And, for color, there should be one carrot, and one carrot only, grated in along with the cabbage. Salt and pepper should be added, and finally the Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe had been born.

And, I am ready to share it. Here, right now.

But, you must understand the recipe is presented with the same persnickety-ness of my Dad’s approach. In other words, he felt there was NO WAY to accurately represent the proportions like any other recipe, because, “…of COURSE that depends upon the size of your cabbage!” So, I am going to give his recipe to you and hope for the best. I am hoping you can bridge the gap, blending the simple flavors to your tastes and that, with a bit of research and development, you will come up with your own Cole Slaw recipe, sure to be an heirloom hit at friend and family gatherings.

Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw

1 Cabbage, cored, quartered and grated

1 Carrot, grated

Lemon juice to taste (I usually use three)

Granulated sugar to taste (Not overwhelming sweet…unless you like that)

Mayonnaise (Start with a cup and add, if needed, to make a runny dressing as you stir with a big spoon and the juices are released from the cabbage)

A sprinkle of whole Celery Seed. (Start with a TBSP, and see what you think.)

Salt and Pepper, to taste, then mix well and refrigerate.

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Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:13 am Comments (2)
Dec 29 2011

When you finish the commute home, finally pull into the
driveway and look up to see a scene like this one going
“Waah-Waah-Waah, we’re HUNGRY,”
be thankful you made Scrapple over the weekend.

If you’re like me, you remember being a kid, loving scrapple and then, one morning, making the mistake of reading the wrapper of the commercial product. The realization that Scrapple was made of corn and pig snouts, well, it was a shock that I’m still getting over. But, if you’re also like me and have enjoyed homemade Scrapple with the Amish, made with first quality organic ground pork, then you know you were willing to start anew and go crazy over the stuff.

Scrapple is an old food, mixing cereal with pork, that has origins with the ancient Celts and medieval Germans. Brought to this country by the German Dutch into Pennsylvania, scrapple traveled out to western Ohio and into Pennsylvania’s border states, Maryland and Virginia. Each area has their distinctive treatment as some use oatmeal, corn or wheat for the cereal. But, the common use of cooking cereal mush, adding cooked pork and cooling the mixture into a loaf for slicing and frying ties the regions together.

You’re probably way ahead of me in realizing this post follows the previous one, Amish Fried Corn Meal Mush for a very good reason. To make Scrapple, you cook ground pork, then make corn meal mush and add it to the pork. The rest of the recipe will seem oddly familiar as it follows what we saw yesterday about slicing the congealed loaf of corn meal mush, flouring and frying the slices in coconut oil to a golden brown.

I use a potato masher to break apart two pounds of
organic ground pork into fine crumbles. Add salt,
pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste, but don’t
taste until the pork is fully cooked.

Pour the corn meal mush, the same quantity as
yesterday’s post and made the same way, into the
pan of seasoned cooked ground pork.

Pour the corn meal mush with ground pork, mixed
well together, into loaf pans, the same as yesterday.

Smooth out the surface, let cool at room temperature,
then refrigerate until congealed.

The recipe makes three loaf pans or one loaf pan and
a large refrigerator dish. Slice, dredge in organic
flour and fry in coconut oil.

Fry until golden and sneak eggs onto the griddle
if desired. 

And talk about economical! I bought two pounds of organic ground pork for a little over $10. Combine it with the Organic Polenta Corn Grits from yesterday at about $3 a pack and you have ton of food that will last through many meals for under $15. The taste of the pork moves into the corn satisfying the palate as if there was lots more of it. Satisfying and inexpensive show why this household favorite has been a staple down through history. Try some yourself. I am sure you will like it and go back for more!

BTW, notice how orange the Amish free range organic eggs are? That’s the way eggs should look! When hens are able to eat green plant material the beta carotene concentrates in the yolk making it dark, sometimes even orange. Free range eggs are bursting with vitamins A, E and minerals you just can’t find in industrial eggs. They are worth the extra price. Because they are nutirent dense, you need less of them to feel full so they are actually more economical. For a delightful discussion on egg yolk color, click here.

 

If you love Scrapple like I do, or are willing to try it
this book may interest you. For more information,
hover your mouse over the link below:

Country Scrapple

William Woys Weaver traces the origins of an American culinary oddity in Country Scrapple. Few twenty-first-century Americans recall their forebears’ scrapple, a hearty mixture of seasoned ground meat and grain that made delicious the scraps left over from butchering. Served sliced and fried, scrapple fed farm families heartily through dark winter months. Each immigrant group had its own scrapple recipe, and the Pennsylvania Dutch version made from pork and cornmeal came to dominate the scene. Ohioans still revel in goetta, which substitutes oats for corn. Weaver documents recipes for the many regional American variations and deftly explains the differences among them. The book even has a directory of German museums with scrapple-related displays. A comprehensive bibliography documents written sources.

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Filed under: Food,Organic — admin @ 5:05 pm Comments (2)

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