Sunday, June 11, 2006


I had this post written about the arrest of the alleged terrorists in Ontario. Oh, it was a doozy I tell ya. I had written it as a script for This Hour Has Twenty Minutes. It was going to be about an FBI agent who comes to Canada and works with a Mountie on telephone taps using the latest technology developed in that land down under, The Excited States.

In my skit the Mountie and the Feeb hear a group plotting to storm the parliament buildings and raise their revolutionary flag. The Feeb gets excited and wants to call for back up, but the mountie tells him they've obviously tapped into a Liberal strategy meeting and while much of what they plan might be shady or even illegal, that's just the way the Grits do things, eh?

Next they hear an obviously unbalanced protagonist screaming at his troops to bring him the entrails of Mr Harper, or "better yet, I'll cut his neck myself!". Again the feeb prepares for drastic action, but the mountie lets him know that they appear to be eavesdropping on a planning session of the Nova Scotia/Saskatchewan coalition of the Conservative party itself. Fortunately, I won't be writing about that silliness at all. Let the courts sort it out. This is Canada. No folks, tonight we discuss cabbage.

Cabbage is an often maligned but useful vegetable. It belongs to the cruciform group, which your oncologist will tell you is on the 'eat lots' list. It is aromatic and like onions, will add depth of flavour to soups and stews. It makes meat taste meatier and pea soup taste pea soupier and turns turkey soup into ambrosia. Good stuff, cabbage. All that being said, I prefer my cabbage raw, in the form of coleslaw. It comes from the Dutch word koosla, which means cabbage salad.

I like a colourful coleslaw and often shred carrots into it, both for the sweetness and the colour. If I want even more sweetness, and depending on the rest of the menu, a couple of tablespoons of marmalade in the mayonnaise mix will tweak the flavour with an elusive sweetness and character that will have folks guessing. Again, depending on the menu and what folks have been drinking, you may want a more aggressive flavour, and in that case a marmalade made with ginger can really spike the flavour of the coleslaw.

Other aggressive flavours that you might experiment with are horseradish, lemon, and lemon rind, hot curry, chinese chili garlic sauce, grated ginger root, fennel/anise and cayenne pepper. With the exception of lemon and ginger, none of the ingredients would be very good in combination, so in your experimentations, stick to just one and use just a wee bit until you get the flavours balanced. Surprising someone with a very aggressive flavour in a dish they expect to be mild is a form of assault - not funny and not attractive, so mind your culinary manners.

There are many other additions to coleslaw that merit a trial. Nuts such as walnuts and cashews are pretty nice and crunchy, but remember to add them in just before serving. Nobody likes a soggy walnut. I will eat coleslaw with raisins in it, but I'd prefer something a bit more colourful and adventuresome. Go to the bulk barn and try some dried cranberries or blueberries. If you make your coleslaw with red or blue cabbage, why not add fresh blueberries? As a matter of fact, a red slaw with blueberries should hit just about all the anti-oxidant notes. Might as well serve healthy stuff as well as tasty.


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