Don’t throw away that plastic cup of coleslaw

Illustration for article titled Don’t throw away that plastic cup of coleslaw
Photo: Justin Smith (iStock)

Coleslaw, step up! You are now the latest food to be debated feverishly on Twitter. As happens so often, it all started with a simple tweet: This one from MSNBC correspondent Ari Melber, who opined:


And we were off to the coleslaw races. The side/salad/condiment/relish—shredded cabbage in mayo and/or vinegar, along with some carrot and maybe some seasonings—appears to be one of those things that no one is neutral about. You either really love it or really hate it. People were quick to jump in on both sides:

But our staff immediately united strongly in favor of coleslaw defense, for the following reasons.

It makes a great condiment

Personally, I am not a huge coleslaw fan; if I spot a big bowl at a picnic or a potluck I’m not completely psyched or anything. But if I get one of those little plastic cups of coleslaw on my plate next to a sloppy joe or pulled pork sandwich, I am automatically delighted. A sandwich is my preferred coleslaw vehicle, as the creamy mayo, crunch, and tangy, saucy flavor all add up to lunch heaven. Just pile it up there right on the bun.


It works as a palate cleanser

Others of us, like Kate Bernot, enjoy the coleslaw just as-is, as sort of palate cleanser. If you’re having some greasy brats or some barbecue-sauce-soaked pulled pork, take a break from all that heaviness with a mouthful or two of coleslaw. The cool creaminess and cabbage crunch will automatically lighten your meal—and it’s probably the only green thing on your plate, right? Except for that pickle.


All mayo-based things are good

Yes, this is a controversial opinion, and some coleslaws don’t involve mayonnaise but instead Miracle Whip, or even just vinegar. But we will never kick a delicious mayonnaise-based salad off of our lunch plate, ranking coleslaw rightly alongside other favorites like potato, tuna, and egg salad.


It’s everywhere

The ubiquity of coleslaw means you should just give up. You’re as likely to spy it at your neighborhood block party as you are as a side at that authentic barbecue place. Maybe those people are onto something.


But if you really don’t like it on its own, try what I suggested above: Just add it to your burger or sandwich. If you still can’t discern the considerable positive attributes of coleslaw after that, you are just not a coleslaw person, and we promise never to bug you about it again.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.



If you don’t like cole slaw, you fall into one of two camps:

1) Dislike mayonnaise
2) Haven’t had good cole slaw

I know you didn’t ask for it, but here’s my cole slaw recipe:

1 head cabbage, chopped, removing bitter centers
Half large red onion minced
1 large carrot, finely shredded
1 cup Duke’s mayo
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp celery salt
1 tbsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. Combine all other ingredients for the dressing and let chill for about an hour. Combine dressing and cabbage/carrot blend just before serving. Toss thoroughly and enjoy.