An Ancient Roman Dish: Cole Slaw

Dale’s World:

Most of us associate the traditional green cabbage and creamy dressing salad with the words Cole Slaw, but there are several ways to make cole slaws. I made chicken enchiladas last week, and this salad was a perfect contrast to the creamy cheese sauce on the enchiladas. If I had used the creamy dressing on the cole slaw, the textures of both dishes would have been similar and not nearly as interesting. Try  this lighter version of cole slaw, a dish that can be traced back to Ancient Roman times.

You will need:

1/2 Red Bell Pepper                          1 Tablespoon Poppy Seed

1/2 Green Bell pepper                      1/4 cup Canola Oil

1/4 Yellow Onion                               2 Tablespoons White Wine                                                                           Vinegar

1/3 of a Green Cabbage                      1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 or 3 Radishes                                    1 Tablespoon Sugar


1. Julienne 1/2 red bell pepper as well as 1/2 green bell pepper.

2. French cut 1/4 yellow onion. French cut means cut from the top to the bottom. To do this, cut the onion in half from top to bottom. Peel the half you’re going to use. Cut off the stem and root ends. Lay the half onion with the cut side down on your cutting board. Now cut thin slices from the side.

3. Cut the cabbage in quarters; remove the core and shred 1/2 of the cabbage with your chef’s knife or food processor.

4. Slice the radishes.


1. Combine the peppers, onion, cabbage and radishes in a large salad bowl.

2. Add 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds, 1/4 cup canola oil, 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 Tablespoon sugar, and toss.

3. Taste to see if you like the balance in the dressing. Is it possible you might want one more tablespoon of vinegar or a little more sugar?

4. This dish goes well with Mexican food.



Food for Thought:


We know from Apicius that ancient Romans prepared a salad of shredded cabbage dressed with vinegar, eggs and spices. Cole Slaw has been around for eons, but Dale’s recipe is one of the best. If it is served at the beginning of the meal, as many salads are, it will whisper of good things to come. We eat and anticipate.

At the beginning of Eric Carle’s book The Tiny Seed, there’s a picture of a host of seeds being swept up by the wind. One seed is so tiny it’s almost invisible. But it flies with the others over deserts and mountains, perpetually lagging behind, but surviving sun scorch and frost, and landing in soft earth at last. Many of his fellow seeds start sprouting, but the tiny seed does not. One seed is eaten by a bird, another sprouted seed is eaten by a mouse. A different seed produces a bright yellow flower, but a boy snatches it up for his girl. Finally the tiny seed commences to sprout. It shoots up and up and up until it surprises even itself by becoming the tallest flower in the land. What a tiny beginning for such a “wow” of an ending!

The Tiny Seed

Beginning is the thing. There is a stirring inside us, a restlessness, a whisper begging to be heard. It might be the seed of an idea or a thought that perseveres. It may even seem risky, but God could be guiding us into a new path. Stopping to listen could lead to something fine.

On our recent trip to Snow Mass Village we visited an out-of the-way township called Marble. There we discovered the ruins of a marble factory and a field full of glistening marble blocks that had been refined and readied to ship.

Block of marble in Marble, CO

After perusing the area, we learned that in the late 1930’s, workmen on Marble’s rock mountain discovered some marble they thought worth hewing out. After the chunks were refined, they were considered so perfect that they wound up being used for the columns of the Lincoln Memorial. What an ending for a piece of rock!

When people come to time for retirement, they soon realize it’s more than an ending;. It’s also a new beginning. A much loved professor had to retire. He hadn’t made any future plans, so he asked himself, “What do I enjoy?” The answer came—books.

After much deliberation, the professor decided to learn book-binding. He studied the craft, and before long, former students began bringing him treasured books to be rebound. His little “business” prospered and resulted in his setting up shop in a hospice. What a boon it was for patients and staff!

What tiny seed is beginning to sprout within you, what new idea for a hobby, a business, a project, a ministry? Like a salad at the beginning of a meal, like the tiny seed that doesn’t waver, you may be beginning something that will lead to an ending you’d never want to miss. “In obeying the small thing we see, the greater is revealed to us.” (Phillip Britts)

A Marble Couch

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