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Well, I certainly hope none of you were searching for something light and healthy after gorging yourself this past weekend on stuffing and gravy. And apple crumb pie. And Bacon & Leek Potato Gratin. Wait…don’t I still have some of that hidden from Husband in the fridge? Back in a sec….
You’d think that the abundance of creamy carbs currently filling my system would make me desire something a little less stick-to-your-ribs than pasta with cream sauce, but, you see, there is another power at work here – a power that makes me pee at odd intervals (like 5x this past hour), burp loudly in mixed company, and crave nothing but carbs, morning, noon and night. This power also firmly plants its heel into my kidney at inappropriate times of day, and causes my body to experience all manner of “little miracles” that are best reserved for a forum other than a food blog. Trust me, there are some things you guys just don’t wanna know about.
Throughout my childhood, my Italian Grandmother always tried to get me to eat chick peas. On salads, in soups, anywhere she could fit ‘em. It wasn’t enough for her that I ate nearly anything else she put in front of me, in fact, she just used that as ammunition (“But you eat smelt sandwiches!” she would cry.) No matter what she did, or how she presented them, chick peas remained my one culinary hold out (luckily she never tried to get me to eat cottage cheese – I am still holding out on that one till this day).
Twenty years later, and enter a very-Italian boyfriend and his Mother. It mattered not a lick to these people that I was part Italian (“But I’ve been to Italy!” I would cry, “I make my own sauce! My Grandma’s maiden name is Santamaria!!”) It was all for naught. My hair was too red, my eyes were too blue, my skin was too fair, my name too…not-Italian. Thus, very-Italian boyfriend’s mother took every chance she could to teach me the ways of these mysterious Italian people and their culture.
Did I know that Christmas brought the feast of the Seven Fishes? (Yes)
Did I know to drop the “a” on every Italian word imaginable, like “Mozzarell“, and “Ricott“? (Well, that’s actually more of an Italian-Americanism, but I’ll give it to you)
Did I know that in some parts of Italy, salad is often served after the meal? (Yes, cause I have been there. Have you?)
It was only be a matter of time before these people tried to make me eat chick peas.
They sat on the kitchen table of his Nana’s house. In a small little bowl, accompanied by wafer-thin crostini. “Aren’t you going to try the Ceci Beans, Kitty? They are pronounced Cheeeee-Cheeee…” (I know). These people came from an era where it was still a grand insult to your host to not eat what was put in front of you. There stood the dreaded chick peas, ironically enough, as the true test of my Italian heritage. Nana fixed a tiny plate for me, I held my breath, and took a bite.
A bite, as it turns out, of Chick Pea Nirvana. I didn’t know they were so nutty! And smooth on the inside! Or how perfectly they went with the intense taste of raw garlic, the zingy lemon, the crunch of the thinly sliced celery! I ate with abandon. Nana had to get more bread. That lemony olive oil that sat at the bottom of the dish couldn’t be wasted, I sopped it up with whatever that woman would put on the table.
“I like her”, Nana told very-Italian boyfriend. “Good appetite.”
Over a month away from you, and the best I could come up with is cole slaw? After the unpacking of boxes and the setting up of stand mixers and the building of IKEA kitchen islands…I come back to you with a recipe that doesn’t even need to be cooked? Well, take my word for it, I have my reasons. For this isn’t just cole slaw, oh no. Because no ordinary cole slaw could ever live up to the spectacular title that is : THE WORLD’S BEST COLE SLAW.
I mentioned to my husband that I was going to be whipping up some cole slaw this past weekend, for our first official day of entertaining in the new apartment, the new backyard, to be precise. Lowes failure to deliver the gas grill we ordered over a month ago meant I was going to have to get creative and come up with a new menu for our Labor Day soiree. I settled on a crockpot pulled pork (coming soon to a food blog near you!), some Seriously Ridiculously Good Guacamole with chips, and this amazing slaw. Well, my husband seemed kind of surprised that I would be making cole slaw, because, as he said “you don’t even like cole slaw”. At first, I had one of those marriage moments – a moment when I was momentarily shocked and appalled that I had somehow married a man that knows me so little, being that I absolutely adore cole slaw. Kind of like how I am guessing he must have felt about a week or so ago, when I told him that I thought he didn’t like classical music. But you see, just like I had never ever witnessed him actually listening to classical music, he had never seen me eating cole slaw, because I am just so incredibly picky about it. Cole slaw can’t be all white and squishy and swimming in watery mayo like it may be if you’ve purchased it from a supermarket deli case or if its served alongside a diner burger in a pathetic little white paper cup. It has to be crisp and fresh and colorful and zingy with flavor…which leads us to The World’s Best Cole Slaw.