My market is one of the only markets in the area that continues beyond September. I mentioned that to a coworker yesterday and he seemed surprised, not that more towns weren’t still holding markets but that mine was. “What do they even have?,” he asked. In addition to this stuff, there were pumpkins and squash and all sorts of leafy greens, tomatoes (yes, still!), mushrooms, broccoli, a dozen varieties of apples, and rutabagas the size of your head. I’m not sure what one does with a rutabaga the size of a human head, which is why I didn’t buy one. (As it turns out, ancient Celts carved scary faces in them and used them as lanterns to ward off evil spirits at Samhain. Duh.)
This week, with carrot greens and leek tops, it was tough to take a photograph that didn’t include at least part of a very portly little cat. She swatted at me when I took the leeks away and followed me to the refrigerator meowing. Which was not nearly as amusing as the time she got her head stuck in a bag of Twizzlers.
I don’t have a picture of that. Here are some leeks and carrots instead.
If you own a television and are not particularly speedy with the remote, you’ve probably seen the commercial in which KFC glibly suggests that the only way to feed a family of four for under $10 is to buy them a bucket of fast food chicken. My initial response, after watching the TV mom and her two children zip through the grocery feigning shock at the price of such thrifty staples as a bag of flour, was to demand of KFC, ‘If I can’t cook it for $10, how can you?”
It was a rhetorical question, of course. For one thing, I was talking to the TV, plus I have a reasonable grasp on economies of scale. More importantly, I’ve read enough of the modern-day muckrakers to know that fast food is made possible by farming subsidies and cheap oil, and that the industry relies on exploitatively cheap labor and unsustainable factory farming to manufacture its sleazy product at bargain-basement prices.
But once I finished angrily lecturing the television — which had long since moved on to flushable toilet brushes or some other such nonsense — it occurred to me that not only could I cook that for $10, I could cook something much better using (mostly) local ingredients. And since we’d already invited Chris’s aunt and uncle to dinner, I figured last night was as good an opportunity as any to prove the Colonel wrong.
There are many fine uses for mayonnaise, but coleslaw dressing ain’t one of ’em. Actually, it’s possible that somebody somewhere makes a decent mayo-based slaw, but that mound of gloppy white mush masquerading as coleslaw in deli departments and dive bars across the land? Kill me now.
What you want is a light, tangy dressing that clings ever-so-slightly to the slaw, a dressing whose flavor gradually seeps into every pore of the cabbage without diminishing its crispy, crunchy goodness. What you want is vinegar.