On Sunday, my husband and I will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. Celebrating is probably the wrong word to use because we aren’t likely to do anything other than acknowledge that we’ve survived one more year. Like all marriages, there have been more than a few challenges. Most of the time, I am amazed that we’ve lasted this long and I have no idea how all those years passed so quickly.
Early in our marriage, I realized that one of the biggest challenges would be figuring out what to fix for dinner every night. It seems like a small problem, but I’d exhausted my entire menu of possibilities within a week of returning from our honeymoon. I then did what any sensible young wife would do. I asked my husband what he’d like to have for dinner.
In June 1981, the year before we got married, Merle Haggard released a single called Rainbow Stew. I wasn’t a country music fan and I’d never heard the song before so I had no idea what my husband was referencing when he said, with a chuckle, that he wanted rainbow stew for dinner. I did my best to oblige.
I now have a favorite dish that I make quite often. I call it Rainbow Coleslaw in honor of the diet soup I made that night, years ago. It’s slaw that’s just a few steps beyond normal, on the side of delicious.
(The original recipe, given to me by my friend Judy, was called Italian Coleslaw and used just cabbage and onions with a vinegar and oil dressing. I added the other veggies and the herbs.)
Shred a small head of cabbage and thinly slice one sweet onion.
Use any combination (or all) of the following: thinly sliced seedless cucumber, thinly sliced red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, chopped broccoli and cauliflower, shredded carrot, etc.
Layer half of the vegetables in a very large bowl. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of sugar over the vegetables. Sprinkle liberally with basil and parsley, then lesser amounts of oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Repeat with the other half of the vegetables.
Bring 2 cups of vinegar, 1/2 cup canola oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon dried mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to a boil, then pour over the vegetables. Refrigerate 6 hours, or overnight. Drain well before serving. (The salad “shrinks” in the refrigerator. It looks like a huge amount to start with but ends up about half that amount.)