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Classic Summer Food….Coleslaw!

It’s quickly becoming summer here in middle America. There are flowers on the trees, kids at the playground, and the countdown to school letting out is reduced to mere days. It’s time to load the family dinner in the car and head to somewhere warm and shady to sit in nature’s glory while you eat.

I’m going to share my simple recipe for the picnic and pot luck classic…coleslaw!
Slaw has had a bad run these last few decades. It’s no longer the fresh salad our fore-mothers used to make. No, it’s been reduced to a goopy, squishy side dish at every deep fried meat establishment. It swims in a chemically treated briney sauce that will keep it in suspended form for days. Ick.

Not my slaw, though…no way! It’s fresh and divine, and never lasts more than a day as leftovers, just because it gets eaten up quickly! This is the way your grandma made slaw, so strap on your vintage apron and have at it!

Here’s the recipe:
Classic Coleslaw
1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar (a little less if your vinegar is strong and fresh)
1/2 C Mayonnaise (your favorite tasting brand)
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Roasted Sunflower Seeds (or finely chopped nuts if you prefer)
1 tsp Celery Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper (more if you prefer it punchy)
1/4 C White Sugar
3-4 Strips Cooked Bacon

Start with a medium sized bowl with a lid…like a Tupperware or any of the spawn of Tupper that are available now. The sealed lid part is important, because we’ll be shaking this later.
Collect your dressing ingredients and assemble the dressing. You’ll need white wine vinegar, sugar, mayo, celery salt, pepper, and sunflower seeds.

Stir them about to make this somewhat unappealing, chunky goo. Trust me, it tastes better than it looks.

Next, put a whole bag of shredded coleslaw mix in there with the goo.
Isn’t it lovely and bright?
You can find this stuff in the bagged lettuce area of the grocery. The bag should be snug to the shreds, with lots of color from the cabbage and carrots. This stuff makes a pretty good salad on its own, just mix in some lettuce and greens.

Now pop on the lid and seal tight, flip it over, and walk away for a minute or two…really! Go swap a laundry load or check on the kids. This allows gravity to pull the dressing through the strands of veggies, making it easier to stir.

After a minute of getting down with gravity, pick up the bowl and give it a few gentle shakes and spins to further distribute the dressing. Nothing violent, just enough to blend it around.
Dig this action shot. Shake it baby!
You’ll stir it before serving, this just gets things moving.

Now add some chopped up crispy bacon. How much? How much do you have?!
I usually use 3-4 strips, but adjust to your level of bacon lust.

If your bacon is a little soft and doesn’t easily crumble, snip it with clean kitchen scissors. It makes chopping it up easier and cleaner.
Plus, you can eat the little end you were holding while snipping because, you know, your finger was all over it.

If you’re making this ahead, put the lid back on and give it a jiggle to distribute the bacon while on your way to stash it in the fridge for a while. Otherwise, stir with a rubber spatula, making sure to move around any dressing from the bottom of the bowl.

I prefer to make my slaw about an hour ahead of time, but it can be eaten right away. The longer it sits, the more the veg give up their moisture to the dressing. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, plus it gives the flavors time to get happy together.

When it’s time to serve, you can put it in a fancy bowl for the table, or chuck the bowl in the cooler and head out picnicing.
Or just take the whole bowl and a fork to the couch and dig in sloppy style.
I won’t judge.