Standing Up For Coleslaw

Standing Up For Coleslaw

Joshua Klopp, Vice President

In a debate made popular in recent times by the fast-food chain Raising Cane’s, the mainstream opinion about coleslaw has been almost purely negative. It has become commonplace for social media posts and unoriginal memes to go viral for vilifying coleslaw supporters. In reality, coleslaw is a sweet, tasty, and culturally rich dish. Many people are undereducated about the contents and history of coleslaw. By learning what coleslaw really is and where it comes from, the public will embrace the delicious nature of the dutch dish and change their opinion.

A simple search on Twitter clearly highlights common social media users take on coleslaw. Spreading negativity about coleslaw has become a form of acquiring a cheap moment of virality. Tweets like “I eat coleslaw because I hate my life” or “People who like coleslaw should have two options: Life in prison or be permanently exiled from the country” have garnered support online.

A search for coleslaw on Reddit leads to a page titled “Does anyone really like coleslaw?” These questions and comments are everywhere. Some internet users have gone so far to call for coleslaw to be completely removed from the Raising Cane’s menu. To make matters worse, even the Raising Cane’s main twitter page has posted an image of their most popular menu item, excluding coleslaw, with the caption “Box combo. Extra sauce. No slaw. Extra toast.” It is no wonder that everyday media consumers thoughtlessly slander the vulnerable side dish. 

Like most debates that gain popularity online, this one has become extremely polarized. Those who have pulled furthest away from coleslaw take another person’s consumption of it personally. In an interview with 1870 Magazine, a social worker and coleslaw supporter named Madison Handley voiced her struggles. She said,

When I eat the coleslaw, people stare

— Madison Handley

The question must be asked, has this trend been determined by an honest dislike for coleslaw? Or have the masses opinions been cultivated to fit in with baseless trends online? Taking a step back to gain some perspective and learning the facts about this dish makes clear that misinformation has run rampant.

Those with animosity towards coleslaw undoubtedly visualize it as the standard Raising Cane’s American version. This is unfair and limiting. The best way to understand the culture and diversity of the dish is to understand its origins. The roots of coleslaw recipes go all the way back to ancient Rome. However, the version of the dish we know today was originally created in the Netherlands. These cabbage dishes predate the invention of mayonnaise. This fact will surprise, and hopefully influence, those who disregard coleslaw based on their aversion to mayonnaise.

It is not just “mayonnaise cabbage,” as some say, because there are endless delicious variations. Popular versions of coleslaw include jalapeño, tangy apple, mustard, and vinegar. The vinegar/vinaigrette variation is most popular, and for good reason. Not only does using vinaigrette add a fresh delectable flavor, but it also extends the lifespan through the effects of pickling. The bundle of added value is more than enough to sway haters back toward coleslaw. However, this logic based opinion shift should not be necessary. Basic thoughtfulness and curiosity for the world is what should be putting people on to trying coleslaw. 

When it comes to the Raising Cane’s example, people are neglecting the value of a comprehensive experience. They’re no longer worried about eating a well-rounded meal. Later in her interview with 1870 magazine, Madison Handley added, “Look, everything else in there is breaded, the chicken is breaded, the french fries? Bready. The toast? Obviously bread, you need something in there that’s not bready, it’s a needed thing.” This opinion highlights the open-mindedness that should be applied when considering coleslaw. Madison did not slander Texas toast directly.

She may even prefer the taste of the toast better. However, she does not let this impact her perspective or decision. She recognized that coleslaw plays an essential role in this meal. Not everyone must accept coleslaw into their lives, but everyone should open their minds to the various roles coleslaw can take on that make it a good dish.

Obviously food preference is subjective. Everyone has foods they like and don’t like. This is not the problem. The problem is the unnecessary negativity that is often cast toward coleslaw. Observing and accepting coleslaw’s variations is not only for those who dislike the most popular style. It is also to highlight that coleslaw’s variety enables it to fit into many different environments.

It is not about whether you like coleslaw or not, it is about finding the right coleslaw for each individual. These hopeful truths are why the public opinion about coleslaw should change and why coleslaw should be allowed back into Raising Cane’s box combos across the nation.