Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Simple Cabbage Slaw: Underthink it

It all started with POW's, or, as my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Cox called them, "Problems of the Week."

We would receive the "problem" every Monday and would, as the name suggests, have the week to solve it. Creative presentations of the solved problem were rewarded with bonus points in the form of a plus sign, the "A++" being the holy grail of the POW.

Overachiever that I was, it became my 9-year-old self's mission in life to acquire that A++ every single week. I'd sprawl out on the family room floor with markers, colored construction paper and glue, and spend hours coming up with over-the-top, embellished productions for a simple question that really just required a simple answer.

Even then, in the days of peanut butter sandwiches without the crust and jump ropes, "simple" didn't exist in my vocabulary. I'd overthink every nuance of the assignment, scrutinizing every word, every page, every single detail as though it had the power to be the difference between an A+ and an A++.

The end of the world.

It should hardly be a surprise that I grew up to be this. A hot mess of overthinking. Wondering what he means by "my focus is on you," and why he won't just ask me out already if his focus is indeed "on" me and not on whatever else it is he is focusing on when he's not focusing...

...on me.

And then I wonder why I even care because clearly I don't want to be with a guy who won't ask me out anyway, especially when I'm busy with all the Bar Methoding and quinoa-eating and flash mob-planning. I have a life. I have friends. I have a job. I have a Molly.

And, when times get really overthought, I have a kitchen.

The kitchen is the escape from all this -- the torturous obsession, the clutter from the day, the clutter from the boy. It's where things like this salad happen. No measuring, no scrutinizing, no assessing the meaning behind a shake of salt or a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Unlike the rest of it -- the overextended analyzation about how to respond to a "hey" -- it's done by feel.

And unlike the rest of it, it's exactly what it appears to be. Simple. Delicious. Worthy of an A++ without a single embellishment.

Simple Cabbage Slaw
Serves 1 (or more as you see fit)

Notes: This recipe is built upon approximations so I'm leaving out specific quantities and listing, simply, ingredients. Combine them how you see fit -- or rather, how you feel is fit. Don't overthink it. Enjoy it.

Handful of Red Cabbage, sliced into ribbons
Handful of Green Cabbage, sliced into ribbons
1 Small Carrot, peeled and sliced into thin ribbons or shreds
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
Splash of Good Quality Olive Oil
Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
Squirt of Honey
Dash of Ground Mustard

Combine red and green cabbage and carrot into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and ground mustard. Pour over cabbage. Toss until well-integrated. Let rest 10 minutes for flavors to "meld." Serve and eat immediately.


sarah j. gim said...

i think, unfortunately, that we are naturally, biologically, *wired* to overthink. *everything*


Ashley said...

This looks like a Mark Bittman recipe that I vaguely remember making sometime during the grad school blur. Glad to be reminded of it with something similar.

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i love when the kitchen become a nice escape from the stresses of life, but that relaxed carefree kitchen time is so rare for me I always overthink when baking and often the crazy perfectionist in me comes out and it isn't a pretty sight. Maybe I should stick to slaw :)

Esi said...

A++ for cabbage slaw

the actor's diet said...

i love turning my mind off. and eating slaw.