Monday, June 21, 2010

Cabbage Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day, so I don’t think it was an accident that I found myself making coleslaw with one of the two cabbages I have left from last week's CSA share. I have vivid memories of my dad using his giant mandolin to shred cabbage onto a cutting board in the kitchen.

He kept the slicer underneath the kitchen sink where it could be retrieved at a moment's notice if he found himself with an extra head of cabbage. The mandolin I used, a slight white plastic piece, was nothing compared to my dad’s mandolin. I’m pretty sure mine will snap in half someday as I use it, something that never happened to my dad in a lifetime of making coleslaw.

The mandolin was wood and nearly as big as my whole arm, with blades that twisted in and were locked tight. I suspect it was homemade, not because of the craftsmanship, but because it seemed to be made out of exactly the same wood as our cutting board, which slid out from a square cut beneath the counter. The slicer was exactly the same thickness and if you placed it on top of the board, you might lose it there, were it not for the silver blades to tell you where it was hiding.

My dad favored a simple vinegar and oil dressing that he mixed up with a little sugar in whatever jar he could find. Sometimes he might use a metal measuring cup to mix the dressing ingredients together, capping the top with his big broad hand and making sure none escaped as he shook it. But whatever was handy would work too. I remember any number of washed out peanut butter and mayonnaise jars serving the purpose.

The Pampered Chef Measure, Mix and Pour I use to mix my dressing is a far cry from an old jar, but no better at the task. The recipe I make starts out similar to my dad’s but as with my materials, I take a more modern turn as I finish it out. I start with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and sugar and then decide to add some curry powder, ginger and hot sauce for an unexpected flavor, finishing with some peanuts.

All in all I’m pleased, but I’m not sure my dad would like it. I’m pretty sure he never had anything with curry in it during his whole life. But, knowing my dad he’d be too polite to say anything bad. As I finish my dinner and pack up the leftovers for another meal, I sneak another bite out of the bowl, just as my dad used to. “Not too shabby,” I can almost hear him say.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cathy,
    Loved the story about your Dad. It made me remember my Dad's "specialities". He had a grinder that attached to the table and when we had leftover roast beef, he made the most delicious beef sandwich spread with onions, seasonings and mayo. He also made killer meatloaf and pot roast. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
    Love, Nan