Wondering What Life Is For: Broccoslaw (reiteration)

There is much talk in the blogosphere about post-holiday diets and weight loss goals. Here is a reprise of my guest post, published by our gracious host Renard of https://renardsworld.wordpress.com, describing one of the most effective ancient diets, as well as a new recipe.

Zeus was in a quandary. The supreme and most powerful of Ancient Greek Deities, Awesome and Horrible, and a prolific philanderer, he was not a great intellectual. Sadly, he was not a great prophet either, so between coming up with confusing prophecies and being unable to interpret them, he would often break out in a sweat. Actually, thinking was such an immensely strenuous activity for the Main Chief of the Greek Pantheon, that poor Zeus would be sweating bullets.

He did look tremendously impressive, though, so it’s no surprise that even his copious sweat, falling into fertile Mediterranean earth, sprang cabbage – the health food of the ancients (https://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question67131.html). This is only one legend of the humble vegetable’s origin; there are quite a few other versions, but regardless of the legends, the real thinkers did consider it very healthy. In fact, they have postulated that this is what life is for:

These guys might have disagreed on their understanding of life, but the did agree on the benefits of cabbage; eating it, they claimed, would ensure excellent health and longevity. Those of you, Beautiful People, who are sensitive to scatological references, might want to skip the next video that had been aired on BBC as part of the Horrible Histories:

If you did watch it, however, you would have noticed piles of cabbage behind Diogenes’ barrel. Yes, he ate nothing but raw cabbage. Granted, he was a weirdo, albeit a brilliant one. He would walk the streets holding a lamp in broad daylight, and when asked why he needed light during the day, he would reply, “I am looking for a human,” When Alexander the Great visited him in his residence (the barrel, that is), the mighty king was so impressed by Diogenes’ philosophy that he asked if there was anything he could do for the great thinker. “There is, – grumbled the dirty homeless vagrant, – move over, man, you are blocking the sun.” To everyone’s surprise, Alexander politely moved over and said to his entourage, “If I were not Alexander, I would want to be Diogenes.”

That is not to say that Diogenes did not have his opponents – everybody did, in those times. One of them, Aristippus, wrote that cabbage “dulled the senses and cut life short” (ibid.) Yet Aristippus died at 40, while Diogenes lived to be 90, so who won that argument?

The great Roman stoic Cato, learning from the Greeks, also extolled cabbage as “the secret to long life “(ibid.) He has improved on the recipe: contrary to Diogenes, the first raw foodie among ancient philosophers, who simply munched on raw cabbage leaves, Cato dressed shredded cabbage with vinegar. Spreading its wings over large territories, the Roman Empire also introduced what later became Europe to its popular foods, among which, undoubtedly, was Cato’s invention – the predecessor of modern coleslaw.

The Dutch, who called it koolsla which simply meant “cabbage salad,” from the Latin colis – cabbage – followed the Roman recipe, dressing it with vinegar. In the interpretation of illustrious British explorer Henry Hudson, who was hired by the Dutch East India Company, it became “cold” slaw, meaning raw, as opposed to cooked cabbage commonly served in England. The river, discovered by Mr Hudson in the “Indies,” was named after him, leading to, among other interesting places, a small island, home of Lenape People.

The ubiquitous companion to barbeques, American coleslaw, has not appeared until the invention of mayonnaise in 18th century. Drowned in mayo, poor cabbage obviously lost some of its health benefits, but fortunately, clever veggie enthusiasts remembered yet another Roman favorite, “the flowering crest of cabbage” – broccoli. More specifically, they solved the dilemma of what to do with broccoli stems by inventing broccoslaw – a combination of julienned or grated broccoli stems with traditional American coleslaw dressing. I went a step further in healthy food direction and replaced heavy mayo with Vegenaise. I do not peel broccoli stems (I also do not have a massage parlor for kale – I believe in marinating to make it soft); why waste all this fiber?


  • Stems of 1 head of broccoli, julienned or roughly grated (makes about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup Vegenaise (or any mayonnaise of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of Agave (honey or maple syrup could be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Mix all ingredients well.
  • Garnish with fresh dill.
  • Serve chilled.


23 Comments Add yours

  1. A_Boleyn says:

    Sounds nice and healthy. It’s 8pm and I’m watching some fun Youtube videos and drinking a mimosa. Healthy? Don’t know and after this one and maybe a 2nd one, I won’t care. 😉


    1. Dear friend, mimosas are much healthier in the morning, but there is nothing wrong with having them at night. Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A classic mix of Dolly’s music, fun, and information


    1. Thank you so much, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Lakshmi Bhat says:

      I wonder about Diogenes😊. But he got away with his convictions. I have to watch the videos. Thank you for sharing. We use cabbage regularly in different dishes.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much for commenting, dear Lakshmi, and especially thank you so much for the recipe. It looks like something we would like.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Americaoncoffee says:

    Yummy Broccoslaw! One of my favorites. I like your method and I must try it.❤️


    1. Thank you so much, sweetheart; I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marlapaige says:

    OMG, now I want roast beef and cabbage!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So go make it, darling; what’s stopping you?


      1. Marlapaige says:

        My sister makes it better than I ever could or ever have. I’m more the chicken soup/challah person, she’s the corn beef and cabbage one. Oh, and I meant corn beef lol

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thought you did. LOL


      3. Marlapaige says:

        hahahaha Sorry. Sometimes my brain conflates the strangest things lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Marlapaige says:

        Also, I was at work lol

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Excuses, excuses…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Marlapaige says:

        Well, the day anyone figures out how to make corned beef at cabbage while working at the office and in other people’s homes, I’d love to find out. And no, a slow cooker wouldn’t work either. I believe you slow cook it for 5-8 hours depending on your recipe. I was working a 13 hour day – my house would have burned down after all my food turned into mush and soup anyway

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Well, sweetheart, I used to work two jobs and make gefilte fish that takes 8 – 10 hours, depending on the size of the fish. Every woman from communist Russia lived like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Marlapaige says:

        I’m not saying many people do not have to figure out how to make insane dishes with no time. I do it (occasionally), my aunt did it every day for like 30 years. Just that because of the time it takes and how my long days line up, it rarely works out that I can have it on those days specifically, and I never seem to want it any other day. Other dishes are fine, like my grandmother’s “Jakoya” which is a rump roast that is cooked on low for about 9,000 years until you could literally cut by breathing on it too hard, then a pinch of salt. Any side you want takes about 20 mins because it doesn’t require bleeding of the flavors. Instead of 9,000 hours watching it just sit there, I’m being productive and my dinner is at home, making itself! But I can’t do that with CB&C, it’s not one of my many enviable skills (😉). The cabbage, quite literally, disappears when left in the cooker too long; and made any other way then the two together tastes wrong. I have tried, I promise I’ve tried, but watery, melted cabbage soup just isn’t really good as a side dish as actual softened cabbage.

        Sometimes, you just have to admit defeat and recognize that other people just make magic with some dishes, and the rest of us just patiently wait until they Bippity Boppity Boo the dish into existence.


      9. Marlapaige says:

        I learned that defeat is not a bad word.
        Just hearing my sister say “OK, I will….soon” is a bad omen for my chances at getting it

        Liked by 1 person

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