With only another day until our Frieze Family Reunion the family is beginning to arrive in Shelton and I am getting ready to join them on Saturday. I made my grandmother’s pineapple cookies (after discovering I was out of flour and having to run to the store) which are stacked in Tupperware that dates back to at least the Johnson Administration. My next project is Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw.
Although Aunt Mary won’t physically be with us for the reunion, I feel sure she would have made her coleslaw so deciding to make a big bowl seemed like a natural. When my middle son accompanied me to Missouri he ate nearly an entire bowl of it the first night we were at my aunt and uncle’s house. It’s different than your run of the mill coleslaw. In the cookbook my aunt’s family put together she submitted this recipe as “King’s Coleslaw.” I have no idea where that name came from. It might have been a play on Old King Cole or it could reference the King family of Dade County, MO where the Friezes come from. At my house it’s “Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw.”
When I was going through my father’s home movies I was delighted to see my lithe aunt picking strawberries in the family patch on Whidbey Island in the 1960s. I thought again about what a strong person she was—strong physically and strong emotionally. It is easy for me to see why my father’s older brother would have been attracted to her. Her long graceful fingers could not only pick strawberries, blackberries and mushrooms, she could use them knead the best bread you ever put in your mouth. She hand pieced quilts and raised two of the most delightful human beings. She had patience in abundance and an infectious laugh. She didn’t like having us kids under her feet. “Now you kids go on out and play in the road.” We knew she didn’t mean that literally, but I can hear her voice just as clear as if it were yesterday and not fifty years ago. This spring I was delighted when the white lilac I planted in her and my uncle’s honor produced its first blooms.
If you want to take tangy coleslaw to your own family gathering try Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw. Here it is from a piece of stationary on which she wrote it out in the summer of ‘02:
Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw
1 med. cabbage, shredded; 1 large onion (red or white—red makes it festive), ¾ sugar.
Put in a large bowl in layers of cabbage and onions until all are used up. Pour ¾ C. sugar over mixture and set in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Dressing: ¾ vinegar, 1 ½ tsp. salt, 1 T. mustard.
Bring the above to a boil. Add 1 C. oil and bring to a boil again and add 1 tsp. celery seed.
Pour over cabbage mixture while hot. Let stand overnight. Will keep for several days. Aunt Mary said on her directions, “I put mine in a large Tupperware bowl with a tight seal and turn it over several times. That mixes it up easily.”
Hey, I have a Tupperware bowl as old as the pieces holding the cookies!