Whenever I visit my parents, I try to help out by cooking some of the time. There’s not enough room in my suitcase to bring my favorite cookbooks with me, so I usually take a peek at what Mom has in her collection to get some ideas.
I love doing this, because many of her all-purpose cookbooks are from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s and are filled with sound, homey recipes that are pure comfort food.
On my most recent visit to Louisville, I bought a head a cabbage, because we all like coleslaw. But after making my own version for a couple of days, I turned to one of her cookbooks for a variation. Here’s one version I found in “American Home All-Purpose Cookbook,” which dates to 1966. It was considered old-fashioned then, so what should we call it now? It doesn’t have anything fancy like shredded carrot or onion in it. But it tasted like the coleslaw I loved as a kid, and that’s all that mattered.
6 cups finely chopped cabbage
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup Old-fashioned Boiled Dressing (recipe follows)
Place chopped cabbage in a salad bowl. Sprinkle salt over top. Let set for 5 minutes. Pour dressing over top and stir in. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Old-fashioned Boiled Dressing
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon sugar
¼-1/2 teaspoon paprika, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold water
2 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
Heat the water in a double boiler until it is hot but not boiling. In the pan on top, mix together flour, mustard powder, sugar, paprika and salt. Stir in cold water and whisk. Whisk in egg yolks and vinegar, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken, about 4 minutes (time will depend on how hot the water is). Be careful not to let eggs scramble over too hot water. Once the dressing is thick, remove from heat. Stir in butter and cream or evaporated milk, a little at a time until fully incorporated. Chill.
Dressing should be about as thick as whipped cream.
Makes 1 ½ cups dressing.
Variations: To 1 cup boiled dressing, add in your choice of any of the following:
Egg: 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped, 1 tablespoon parsley. Use on meat, vegetable and seafood salads.
Onion: 3 tablespoons pickled onions, chopped, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. For seafood and green salads.
Dill: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. For seafood salads. (Make the coleslaw above, add boiled shrimp that have been chopped up, dill and the boiled dressing for a real treat.)
Adapted from “American Home All-Purpose Cookbook”