Rediscovering Coleslaw

Most people with any sense of taste will generally give coleslaw a pass. Sure, it works well to wet the pulled pork sandwich, but generally this mayonnaise-laden side-dish adds color but very little flavor in fast food chains.  Thankfully, Thérèse has never succumbed to the temptation to subject luscious fresh vegetables to a coating of factory-processed mayo.

While Thérèse is not afraid to experiment, her coleslaw recipe has been remarkably consistent over the last twenty years.  The “secret” recipe dates back 50 years+ and is actually an amalgamation of her Grandmother’s “Fred Harvey’s Railroad Slaw” and her own food experiments at VEPCO (“Virginia Electric Power Company”).  The basic difference is that Fred Harvey’s recipe calls for twice as much oil as vinegar.  Thérèse recommends equal portions.  This recipe  which serves 8 and easily lasts up to 5 days if refrigerated.

Variations on Fred Harvey’s Railroad Coleslaw


4 cups of shredded cabbage
2-4 Tbs minced onion
1-2 carrots shredded
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of oil


  • Toss cabbage, onion and carrots
  • In saucepan, combine other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Pour over cabbage mixture and chill 4 to 6 hours.

Sure, it’s simple but far better than the mayo-processed variety.