This week I reached out for one of fast food’s all-time great side dishes the coleslaw at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Total calories: 180. Fat grams: 9.
Here is KFC’s official “top-secret” blueprint: “cabbage, carrots and other great stuff.” (You know how squirrelly they are at The Colonel’s place. They still won’t let go with their 11 secret herbs and spices.)
Too often we focus our attention on bacon double cheeseburgers and extra-spicy chicken breasts. They are the headline attractions of fast food. Just like in the National Basketball Association, the superstars get all the publicity.
But just as Michael Jordan can’t take every shot (well, actually, he can), the drive-through would be a pretty sad place without the unsung contributions of french fries, macaroni and cheese, buttermilk biscuits and Tater Tots.
Probably, my favorite side dish is KFC’s coleslaw. It stands unrivaled as cabbage’s crowning achievement.
There’s nothing like KFC’s slaw. It looks different, tastes different and crunches different in your mouth. It has a zing you just won’t find in the supermarket deli.
Coleslaw is KFC’s top-selling side dish, more than doubling the tonnage of its runner-up, mashed potatoes with cracklin’ gravy. It’s also the one side dish that customers order alone, no chicken necessary.
Here’s the key step that makes KFC the surprise king of slaw: Long ago, on orders from the good Colonel himself, KFC decided to finely chop its cabbage instead of shredding it, Fawn Hall-style. This allows the mayonnaise dressing to cling to the cabbage with hardly a drip.
So how come coleslaw, despite being cool and delicious, never scaled the heights of popularity attained by french fries? Perhaps it’s because coleslaw has a funny name. What’s cole? What’s slaw? Actually, it comes from the Dutch words “kool” and “sla,” meaning cabbage and salad, respectively.
Lots of people think its name is “cold slaw” because, with apologies to K.C. and the Sunshine Band, that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, we like it, uh huh, uh huh.
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
8 cups finely diced cabbage (the food processor works fine for this)
1/4 cup finely diced carrots
In salad bowl, combine sugar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice and vinegar. Beat until senseless. Add cabbage and carrots. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
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