Food Oddities

I’ve been racking my brain for the best way to get started with my blog post again. I’ve really missed it lately and every reintroduction seems silly to me. So I have decided to just jump right back into it! Welcome back!

As I sat down with my dinner the other night, it looked so good that I thought to take a picture and post it to Instagram. Then I paused. My meal that night would bring about two types of responses: yums and likes from my fellow Richwoodians, and questions and concerns from anyone else. So I’ve decided to do some googling and write a post about it instead.

The meal in question? Pizza with coleslaw on top.

West Virginia is already known for a few of its more unique foods such as pepperoni rolls and ramps. We also have our own style hot dog (chili, slaw, onions, and mustard) . As a side note, even our state is divided on the slaw topping issue. Ever heard of the slaw line? No? Let me tell you, it’s real. The looks I got at a northern Festival when I asked for slaw on top of my dog. No kidding, the lady absolutely refused to do it.

But why is it that slaw as a pizza topping seems isolated to just my hometown? I googled every form of “coleslaw on pizza” that I could think of. The only results were slaw on BBQ pizza (it looked like just cabbage?) and one food blogger that seemed to have stumbled across the pairing by her own design. By reading through comments on social media posts from fellow Richwooders, I know that pizza with slaw on top was popular in our local restaurants, and seems to be a longstanding tradition within many Richwood families as well.

In my research, I did find that the origins of coleslaw can be traced all the way back to the Romans. There are many countries with variations of coleslaw, more commonly translated as cabbage salad. More recently though, it seems to have arrived in our country in the 1700s with Dutch immigrants who called the dish koolsla. Other sites indicate that it gained popularity due to it’s low-cost ingredients.

This certainly would make sense for its popularity in my hometown. Richwood, founded on coal and timber, had its share of both immigrants and the impoverished. But so were many other settlements in our area. Slaw on a WV dog reportedly became popular during the Great Depression. Maybe once that caught on in Richwood, someone decided to give it a go on pizza? Maybe we’ll never know the true origins of coleslaw on pizza, but one thing I do know is that it is damn delicious.

Want to try it for yourself? There’s no secret recipe. Take your preferred pizza and your preferred coleslaw recipe and wahlah! you have a plate of heavenly goodness!

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