Friday, August 30, 2019

John's Slaw

I am proud of Birmingham for becoming such a great destination for foodies. Thanks to chefs like Frank Stitt, Chris Hastings and others, Birmingham can truly boast about its culinary culture. It seems like every day there is another wonderful new restaurant to try. A few of the old greats are still around, too. Restaurants like Niki's West and Bright Star are just as vibrant and delicious as they ever were. 

Still, I find myself missing some of the iconic Birmingham restaurants of the past. Establishments that have long since closed their doors, restaurants that remind me of a time when a trip to Birmingham was special and eating out was truly a treat. I loved going to the Alabama Theater to see a movie, to Loveman's and Pizitz to shop and I so looked forward going to one of our favorite restaurants. I fondly recall dinners at GG's in the Park, Joy Young's and John's Restaurant. I remember the rolls, butterfly shrimp and egg rolls at Joy Young's, the snapper amandine at GG's in the Park and the Greek snapper, coleslaw and cornbread sticks at John's. Yes, I realize John's City Diner has taken the place of John's, but let's be honest, it's not the same. I also realize you can pick up a bottle of John's slaw dressing at the grocery store, but it, too, is not the same.

For the uninitiated, John's slaw was simple. Shredded angel hair cabbage was piled on a plate and covered in this creamy orange, honey flavored dressing. It was different, delicious and distinctly Birmingham. I've never been to another city where this particular coleslaw was served. 

Luckily, Niki's West and Bright Star still serve up John's slaw, but if you don't happen to be in Birmingham and you don't really want the bottled stuff, I've got the solution. My family has had the recipe for years. I think it was one of those recipes clipped from the Birmingham News at some point in time. We used to make it more often than we do now, but occasionally we will get it out and whip up our own John's slaw. The dressing is easy to make in your blender and you can buy the cabbage pre-shredded, but I love cutting my own into thin angel hair strands. Try it. Maybe it will take you on a stroll down memory lane. 

John's Slaw Dressing

1 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. catsup
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 small onion, diced
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. honey
1 t. Worcestershire sauce

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with angel hair cabbage and cornbread sticks. 

Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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