Science Based Green Detox Thomas DeLauer Although the Romans are often given credit for introducing this vegetable to their European neighbors, the humble cabbage appears in food histories and is generally credited to the Celts, as their armies invaded the Mediterranean regions, where the Romans embraced it (but they most certainly did not embrace the Celtic armies). It became a popular food, as it was easy and inexpensive to grow and could be dropped into a pot of boiling water and eaten plain or in a soup or stew. No blue-blooded Irishman would celebrate St. Patrick's Day without a plate of corned beef and cabbage.
Throughout history, conquering armies have frequently taken their popular foods into other countries and, depending on the climates and growing conditions, cabbage took on different colors and appearances. Regardless of who gets the nod for discovering this popular vegetable, it was widely accepted in Europe and frequently sliced and fermented. (Once again, explorer Marco Polo lost out discovering cabbage in his travels but possibly ate it in his native Italy.)
Cabbage made its appearance in America around 1700 and was probably grown and eaten by the colonists, as well as some Native Americans. Although usually cooked, in the 1700s the Dutch created a raw "cabbage salad" which became what is now our modern day coleslaw. Centuries before, cut up and originally eaten with vinaigrette, the Dutch took coleslaw to a new (and less healthy) level by adding egg, some type of fat and dairy, usually in the form of our mayonnaise.