The harvest season is coming to an end, and that makes me feel sad. I know that I have said this too many times to count, but food just tastes better when it's fresh. There is a huge difference in the taste of the fruits and veggies that you buy from the grocery store (that have been picked who even knows when) and the fruits and veggies that you buy from your local farmer (that were probably picked shortly before you bought them). If you need more persuasion to go local for your food, next time you see a sign that says "Farm Fresh Eggs", take a minute, pull over and buy some. When you get home and crack that egg into your frying pan, look at the colour of the yolk. That yolk will be bright orange, not an insipid yellow. Now take that first bite of your farm fresh egg.... it tastes different doesn't it? Need I say more?
Yesterday afternoon I drove out to my local farmers stand. Yes I can buy potatoes at the grocery store, but I can still buy freshly picked deliciously tender, full of flavour potatoes from my local farmer's stand. I am going to draw this eat fresh process out for as long as I can possibly get fresh food. I took my basket of beautiful tiny red potatoes (envisioning how glorious they would taste all slathered in beautiful butter and sprinkled ever so lovingly with fresh chives from my deck box.) I happened to notice these tiny little cabbages. I'll be honest I was unsure if they were tiny cabbages, or giant brussel sprouts. Maybe I could make a coleslaw to go with dinner. I purchased the 6 tiny cabbage (they were indeed cabbage by the way), each about the size of an apple.
When I got home I began to chop my tiny cabbage up. There was a time when I made coleslaw that I used my food processor to chop it fine, but I have found that I prefer the taste of the larger bits. I'm not sure how the size of the cabbage can make a difference in the taste, but for me it does. I stood at the table chopping, when I noticed a little blonde helper. She was quite intent on helping to make the coleslaw. I told her to go wash her hands with soap and water and she could help (like there was ever a chance that she would let me away with 'not' helping). She returned to the table with slightly damp hands and an extremely smug look on her face.
I chopped and when I had chopped up one apple sized cabbage, she would clear the cabbage from the cutting board into a bowl. I then began to grate my carrot. "I would like to do that", my little blond imp of a helper told me. She began to grate the carrot into the bowl. It's probably good that I had decided that the coleslaw should be made super early so that it could chill, because it was a really slow process!
When the cabbage was chopped and the carrot grated, we began to mix the dressing. The huge mayo container only had about a cup of mayo left in it so I decided to lazy out and just mix the dressing in the large jar. As I measured the ingredients out, my ever eager helper snatched them out of my hand, sometimes before they were even completely poured. When all the ingredients were in, Elly shook her little heart out, mixing the dressing. She then poured the dressing onto the top of the cabbage and carrots. When everything was done (ie all of the fun was finished), Elly scampered off to play.
That night at dinner everyone had a small sample of "Elly's" coleslaw (yes she took ownership of the coleslaw), even the kids who proclaimed that they hated coleslaw. This is the part that I would love to say that everyone LOVED the coleslaw, but they didn't. Elly took one bite of "her" coleslaw and declared that it was "GROSS". The point is they all tried it, and Elly felt important helping to make dinner. I don't let the kids help make meals as much as maybe I should. I'll be honest it's a lot of extra work, and it makes the job ten times longer.... but, and here is the big but, it makes them feel important. It also teaches them the valuable tool of self sufficiency. It's a little nerve wracking for me, but when I look at their proud faces, I guess that it's worth it.
If you would like the recipe for "our" coleslaw I will share it. I say "our", not to be cute and act like I am including Elly in this. I say "our" because I stole the recipe from Christopher's Mom Doreen. She makes the very best coleslaw in my opinion in the world, and now I do too.
You will need....
1 medium cabbage (or six tiny little cabbages the size of apples) grated or sliced thinly, 2 carrots grated, 1 cup of mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp white vinegar, 6 Tbsp white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery seed.
Chop or grate your cabbage, then grate your carrots. Christopher only likes a presence of carrot in his coleslaw, so I only use one carrot. In a separate bowl whisk together the last ingredients. Pour the dressing on the top, mix and there you have it.