A recent recipe request reminded me of something I have meant to talk about for a while.

If your mother, grandmother or another family member makes a dish that is one of your favorites, don’t delay in asking for the recipe, Write it down, either on paper or digitally. Because one day it will be too late.

One of the dishes in my mother’s head was a German-style coleslaw with a cooked bacon and vinegar dressing. I’m sure she learned it from my grandmother, Theresa Gall, who was a first generation German-American.

Maybe it was the bacon, but I remember thinking that I could eat the whole bowl by myself. It was addictive.

I know I can find a similar recipe in a cookbook or on the Internet and probably come pretty close. Still, I would like to know her special way to get it just right. Now I can’t ask ... but you still might be able to.

So a reader requested a coleslaw recipe that is not too mayonnaise-y. We heard from Kaye B. Bull of Mount Pleasant, among others.

“In response to your request for a coleslaw recipe with no-mayo dressing, enclosed is a recipe given to me several years ago by a cousin. It is tasty, the vegetables are good and crunchy and I believe your reader will enjoy it. This is best made the day before and keeps well for up to one week.”

Cliff’s Cole Slaw

Serves 4-6


1 medium head cabbage, shredded

1 teaspoon salt

1 carrot, grated

1 green bell pepper, chopped

For dressing

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon whole mustard seed

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 cups sugar


Mix salt with cabbage and let stand to drain in colander for 1 hour. Squeeze out excess water and mix with carrot and bell pepper.

For dressing, mix ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, let cool to lukewarm and pour over cabbage mixture. Mix well.

From Connie Mulleady of West Ashley: “Here’s a recipe from 1972 ‘Southern Living’s Party Cookbook’ I’ve used many times and always got good reviews.”

Western Slaw

Yield: 8 servings


About 4 cups of finely shredded cabbage (can also be chopped)

1/2 cup ripe black olives, chopped

1/4 cup minced onion

1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

1/2 cup commercial sour cream

1 teaspon seasoned salt

Pinch sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon salad oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato wedges, cherry tomatoes (whole or sliced) or grape tomatoes


Combine cabbage, olives, onion and caraway seed in large bowl. Blend sour cream, seasoned salt, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper together; pour over cabbage and toss.

Check seasonings; more salt may be needed. Cover and chill before serving. Garnish bowl with tomatoes; it needs the color contrast (and it’s good).

Beth Ranson of Daniel Island shares a recipe sans mayonnaise and says it would be great as a side or in fish tacos. I agree. Beth got it from Publix Apron’s Simple Meals recipe card.

Rainbow Slaw

Serves 4


Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 tablespoon kosher salt

Black pepper to taste

1/3 cup thinly sliced pepperoncini

5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced

3 green onions, coarsely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

6 cups shredded cabbage or bag of precut coleslaw mix


Whisk lime juice, oil, salt, pepper and pepperoncini until blended.

Stir in the remaining ingredients just before serving.

Cheryl Cote of Summerville writes, “This one is especially good for hot summer months, picnics, etc., since there is no mayonnaise used.”

24-hour Slaw


1 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

2/3 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 large head cabbage, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped


Boil together the vinegar, celery seed, salad oil, salt and sugar.

Pour mixture over vegetables and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Anne Hicks of Summerville sends this recipe. While not mayo-free, her family likes it a lot.

Apple Coleslaw


3/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar (optional; cuts the tart taste of the vinegar)

Splash of milk

Dash of salt and pepper

Fresh chopped apple bits to taste

Chopped pecan bits to taste

16 ounces shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix


Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar if using, milk, salt and pepper. Mix with the apple, pecans and cabbage.

Lastly, I found this recipe and will definitely try it to see if my mom would approve. However, I might play around with the ratios of vinegar, sugar and water. It sticks in my mind that my mother usually used equal parts. I also think she might have cooked some finely chopped onion in the bacon fat before adding the other ingredients.

This recipe comes from one of my treasured regional cookbooks, “The Heritage of Southern Cooking” by Camille Glenn (1986, 2007).

Wilted Slaw With Bacon Dressing

Serves 4


6 thick slices very lean bacon

1/2 small head tender green cabbage

31/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons water

11/2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Celery seed (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the bacon in the oven until cooked through but not brittle, 15 to 18 minutes (or saute in a heavy skillet).

In the meantime, shred the cabbage and chop it rather fine. You should have 6 cups.

Remove the bacon, reserving the fat, and chop. Set aside.

Combine the bacon fat, vinegar, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat, and add salt to taste.

When you are ready to serve the salad, pour the warm dressing over the shredded cabbage.

Toss with the chopped bacon, add pepper to taste and sprinkle celery seed, if desired.

Who’s got the recipe?

Last call: A West Ashley reader asks for recipes for beef tips in a brown mushroom sauce that does not use salty soup. Also, how to stir-fry those beef tips with vegetables.

If there’s a recipe you’ve lost or a dish you are just wondering about, email food@postandcourier or call Food Editor Teresa Taylor at 937-4886.