“Christmas! Coleslaw!” Emo Phillips used to say, back the in the eighties, when comedy was dominated by awkward, high-voiced man-children in ill-fitting suits, back before sullen teenagers with too much eyeliner and a cutting habit  hijacked the word “emo” for their own nefarious purposes and ruined it for the older generation, much like their spiritual brethren, the homosexuals, did with the word “gay” decades earlier.


Emo Phillips

Emo Phillips

Emo Phillips has faded into obscurity since the heady days of Punky Brewster, the California Raisins and zany secretary of state Alexander “I’m in charge!” Haig, but thankfully coleslaw is as popular as ever. But like so many other things in the United States, supermarket coleslaw is a) disgusting and b) way too sugary,  so I find it much more satisfying to make my own. In fact, if you bring this coleslaw to your next barbecue, you’ll be more popular than Pee Wee Herman in a biker bar. Now that I think of it, you might want to bring some tequila as well.

Lemony Coleslaw with Toasted Almonds


1/2 head white cabbage

5 carrots, grated

1/2 red onion, finely sliced

2-3 scallions, sliced (include some of the green)

1 tart apple, peeled and cut into matchsticks

3-4 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

The juice and grated zest of one lemon

1/3 cup slivered almonds


Shred cabbage finely, put into a large bowl and sprinkle copiously with salt, and let stand for 1/2 hour or longer. Rinse and drain well. This will take some of the bitterness out of the cabbage.

Assemble in a large bowl with carrots, apple, onion and scallions.

In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise with lemon juice and zest, and whisk until creamy.  Mix into salad.

Heat up a dry frying pan on the stove and toast the almonds until just golden brown. This is important! The toasted almonds totally  make the dish! Add to salad. Refrigerate.

Let salad sit an hour or so before serving. It is even better the next day. Stir well before serving, as the dressing will sink to the bottom.

The apples and the carrots add enough sweetness without it being cloying. Just as an aside, have you ever had a ham sandwich with coleslaw on it? No? What are you waiting for? It’s fantastic!

This is what Emo Phillips looks like today.


It’s not the same.