Arthur Bloch’s 1977 bestseller, Murphy’s law and other reasons why things go wrong, included a food joke: “Cole’s Law: Thinly sliced cabbage.” The coleslaw joke is still told.
Coleslaw, sometimes simply called slaw in some American dialects, is a type of salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage. It may also include shredded carrots.
7 September 1978, New Scientist, pg. 744, col. 1:
Offered as contenders for the great unshakeable list of indisciplinary laws—Sod’s Law, Newton’s Fourth Law of Mtion, the Inverse Midas Touch and their kin—is a list published in SLAC Beam Line, the broadsheet of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Like all such compendia very few make the appropriate rating. Cole’s Law, described as thinly sliced cabbage, is frankly pretty wet;...
1,001 logical laws, accurate axioms, profound principles, trusty truisms, homey homilies, colorful corollaries, quotable quotes, and rambunctious ruminations for all walks of life
By John Peers, Gordon Bennett and George Booth
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
Cole’s Law: Thinly sliced cabbage.
By Laurence J Peter
New York, NY: Tower
COLE’S LAW: Grated cabbage.
3 September 1979, New York magazine, pg. 73, col. 1:
Cole’s Law: Thinly sliced cabbage (courtesy The Official Rules).
4 June 1980, Kokomo (IN) Tribune, pg. 1, col. 1:
Cole’s Law—Thinly sliced cabbage.