Salads & Salad Dressings
Caesar Salad (SEE-zer) - The salad consists of greens (classically romaine lettuce) with a garlic vinaigrette dressing. In the 1930s, Caesar Salad was voted by the master chefs of the International Society of Epicures in Paris as the "greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in fifty years."
1903 - George Leonard Herter, is his book Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, Volume II, gives his account on who invented the Caesar Salad. NOTE: As I can not find any historical references to back this story, is it a myth or fact? Definition of myth - A story containing within and having about it certain identifiable characteristics that are sometimes use to designate a story or the understanding of some matter as fictional and even downright false. You be the judge:
1924 - Most historians believe that Caesar salad honors restaurateur Caesar Cardini (1896-1956), who invented it in Tijuana, Mexico in 1924 on the Fourth of July weekend. It is said that on this busy weekend, Cardini was running low on food and he put together a salad for his guests from what was left over in the kitchen. His original recipe included romaine, garlic, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. The original salad was prepared at tableside. When the salad dressing was ready, the romaine leaves were coated with the dressing and placed stem side out, in a circle and served on a flat dinner plate, so that the salad could be eaten with the fingers.
In 1926, Alex Cardini joined his brother, Caesar, at the Tijuana restaurant. Alex, an ace pilot in the Italian Air Force during World War I, added other ingredients, one of which was anchovies, and named the salad Aviator's Salad" in honor of the pilots from Rockwell Field Air Base in San Diego. It is reported that Alex's version became very popular, and later this salad was renamed "Caesar Salad." Caesar was said to be staunchly against the inclusion of anchovies in this mixture, contending that the Worcestershire sauce was what actually provided that faint fishy flavor. He also decreed that only Italian olive oil and imported Parmesan cheese be used in the dressing.
Over the years, it became quite the thing to do - to drive to Tijuana for a Caesar Salad. Californians, including Hollywood celebrities such as Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and W.C. fields dined at Caesar's to escape the Prohibition laws in the U.S. In Europe, Caesar's Salad was also appearing in restaurants. Julia Child, famous cookbook author, wrote about Caesar Salad in her cookbook From Julia Child's Kitchen:
In the book In Search of Caesar, The Ultimate Caesar Salad Book by Terry D. Greenfield, it is stated:
In 1948 Caesar Cardini established a patent on the dressing (which is
still packaged and sold as "Cardini's Original Caesar dressing mix,"
distributed by Caesar Cardini Foods, Culver City, California.
1937 - It was the invention of restaurant manager, Bob Cobb, at The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, found a way to use up leftovers. Cobb had been improvising with the salad for years. The first one was created at the end of a long day, when Cobb realized he had not had time to eat. Wandering over to one of the restaurant iceboxes, a weary Cobb scrounged around to see what he could fix. Cobb's salad might have remained his own little secret had he not made an offhand comment about his new invention to one of Hollywood’s legendary promoters, Sid Grauman, the man responsible for the elaborate, pagoda-like cinema on Hollywood Boulevard that came to be known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The salad got Grauman's interest and he asked for one to try. He fell in love with it.
According to Walter P. Scharfe, later president of the Brown Derby Restaurants, and current owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby licensing rights
Disney World in Florida, located in the Disney-MGM Studios, has built a replica of the restaurant where they feature the Cobb Salad and the famous caricatures of Hollywood stars which lined the walls of the original Brown Derby restaruant in Hollywood, California.
Some historians say that it was the Executive Chef of
the Brown Derby Restaurant, Robert Kreis, who actually developed the Cobb
Salad in honor of Bob Cobb, owner of the restaurant. You be the judge!
Today there are as many versions of this famous salad as there are cooks. Credit for the origin of Crab Louie Salad depends on who you talk to and which state of the West Coast you are in. Most historians agree that the salad began appearing on menus of finer West Coast establishments between the turn of the 20th century and World War I. Other historians suggest that the salad was named after King Louis XIV who was known for his enormous amounts of food he could eat. After his death, it is said than an autopsy was carried out and it revealed that his stomach was twice the size of that of ordinary men. Your be the judge.1904 - Some credit the origin of Crab Louis Salad to the chef at Seattle’s Olympic Club in Washington. In 1904, when the Metropolitan Opera Company played in Seattle, Washington, Enrico Caruso (1873-1921), considered the world's greatest tener, kept ordering the salad until none was left in the restaurant's kitchen.
1910 - It is also said the salad was created in San Francisco by either the chef at Solari’s Restaurant. Helen Evans Brown, in her cookbook West Coast Cook Book, states the following on the history:
Just which Louis invented this West Coast specialty I am not prepared to say, but only because I don't know. I do know, however, that it was served at Solari's, in San Francisco, in 1914, for Clarence Edwords gives their recipe for it in his epicure's guide, Bohemian San Franciso.1914 - The Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA claims that the original founder and owner, Louis Davenport, created this dish for the hotel restaurant. The salad is still on their menu today. Lewellyn "Louis" Davenport came to Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, in the Spring of 1889 at the age of 20 from San Francisco, CA.
1919 - Famed chef, Victor Hirtzler, is said to have included a recipe for the salad in The Hotel St. Francis Cookbook, originally published in 1919.
1917 - James Beard (1903-1985), a native of Portland, Oregon spoke highly of the Crab Louis. Evan Jones, in his book Epicurean Delight: The Life and Times of James Beard says:
1950s - The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California is noted as making the
salad famous. Dungeness crab is considered the symbol of the San Francisco
fishing industry with sidewalk vendors selling fresh-boiled crab during the
The term coleslaw is a late 19th century term, which
originated in the United States. Cole slaw (cold slaw) got it's name from
the Dutch “kool sla”- the word “kool” means cabbage and “sla” is salad -
meaning simply, cabbage salad. In English, that became “cole slaw”
and eventually “cold slaw.” The original Dutch “kool sla” was most likely
Italian salad that probably was an invention of necessity. Italian cooks
waste nothing and this was a way to utilize stale bread and vegetables from
the garden. The record of panzanella goes back centuries. In the 1500s, a
poem by the famous artist, Bronzino, described the salad. Of course, the
tomato was quite a few years from being introduced into the Italian kitchen,
so the ingredients didn't include tomatoes.
Salad Nicoise is the most famous of all these
dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette
dressing. Even its "proper" assembly is disputed. Some people say the salad
is served on a bed of lettuce and others say that tomatoes are the base. And
some don't arrange the elements of the salad at all, but just toss it all
History: Historians believe that this salad was the creation of a
French chef, M. Olivier, owner and chef of The Hermitage restaurant in
Moscow, Russia in the 1860s. Originally cold roast game was used in the
salad instead of chicken.
1893 - Oscar Michel Tschirky (1866-1950), maitre d'hotel, is usually given credit for creating this salad for a private party on the pre-opening of New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 13, 1893. He was known as "Oscar of the Waldorf." Oscar worked at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel from its opening until he retired in December of 1943.
In 1896, Oscar Tschirky compiled a cookbook called The Cook Book by Oscar of the Waldorf and gave the recipe for this salad using only apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Oscar recipe is as follows:
At some point, walnuts were added to the recipe. In The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook published in 1981 by Ted James and Rosalind Cole, it includes the walnuts or pecans.
1918 - Fannie Farmer (1857-1915) revised, edited, and reissued as Mary J. Lincoln's cookbook called The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. In her 1918 edition of this cookbook is a recipe for Waldorf Salad:
A sauce for a salad that are usually based on vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or other emulsified product.
Salad dressings and sauces have a long and colorful history, dating back to ancient times. The Chinese have been using soy sauce for 5,000 years; the Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens nearly 2,000 years ago; and the ever-popular Worcestershire was derived from a sauce used since the days of the Caesar. Indeed, early Romans preferred their grass and herb salads dressed with salt. Egyptians favored a salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Oriental spices. Mayonnaise is said to have made its debut at a French Nobleman’s table over 200 years ago. Salads were favorites in the great courts of European Monarchs - Royal salad chefs often combined as many as 35 ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, including such exotic "greens" as rose petals, marigolds, nasturtiums, and violets.
In the Twentieth Century, Americans went a step further in salad development - making it a fine art by using basic dressing ingredients (oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and spices) and Yankee ingenuity, to create an infinite variety of sauces and dressings to make salads the best ever. "Store bought" dressings and sauces were largely unavailable until the turn of the century. Many of the major brands of dressings and sauces available today were on the market as early as the 1920’s.
In 1896, Joe Marzetti opened a restaurant in
Columbus, OH and began to serve his customers a variety of dressings
developed from old country recipes. Consumer acceptance led Mr. Marzetti to
bottle and sell his dressing to restaurant customers in 1919.
The Green Goddess Dressing created at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel (now called the Sheraton-Palace) in the 1920s. The Palace Hotel was built in 1875 and was San Francisco’s first grant lodging hotel. The Palace Hotel was considered the largest hotel in the western United States.
The hotel's executive chef, Philip Roemer, named the dressing for
English actor George Arliss (1868-1846), who stayed at the hotel and also
ate in the Palm Court restaurant during the time he performed
in the play called The Green Goddess. This play was considered the best play
of the 1920-21 Broadway season and it later became on the earliest “talkie”
movies in 1930. The actor frequently complemented San Francisco’s marvelous
weather and proclaimed that it induced a healthy appetite.
History: The name comes from the earliest versions that included a distinctly Russian
The history of Thousand Island Dressing dates back to the early days of the 20th century and centers in the small resort village of Clayton, New York. A fishing guide named George LaLonde, Jr. guided visiting fishermen for Black Bass and Northern Pike through the waters of the 1000 Islands. After a day of fishing, he and his wife, Sophia LaLonde, would serve what they called “shore dinners” with a different and unusual salad dressing. The following story on the origin of Thousand Island Dressing was given to me by Allen and Susan Benas, owners of the Thousand Islands Inn:
“On one particular occasion, George LaLonde, Jr., was guiding a very prominent New York City stage actress named May Irwin and her husband. May Irwin, a renowned cook and cookbook authoress in her own right, was particularly impressed with the dressing and asked George for the recipe. Sophia La Londe, who created the dressing, was flattered by the request and willingly gave her the recipe. Sophia also had given the recipe to Ella Bertrand, who’s family owned the Herald Hotel, one of the most popular hotels in Clayton. May Irwin and her husband had stayed at the Herald Hotel during their early vacations in the island and had already tasted the dressing. It was May Irwin who gave it the name Thousand Island and it was Ella Bertrand who first served it to the dining public.
Upon her return to New York City, May Irwin gave the recipe to fellow 1000 Islands’ summer visitor, George C. Boldt, who was owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Equally impressed with the dressing and its flavor. Mr. Boldt directed his world famous maitre di, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the hotel’s menu. In doing so, Oscar Tschirky earned credit for introducing the dressing to the world.”
In 1972, Allen and Susan Benas purchased the
Herald Hotel and changed its name to the Thousand Islands Inn. Needless to
say, Thousand Island Dressing is the “official” house dressing at the inn.
The Benas now bottle and sell the dressing at the inn and on the internet.
American Food Folklore and Culinary History: Buffalo Wings, Reuben Sandwiches, and Caesar Salads, by Jim Rader, Merriam-Webster Inc. via ADS-L 28 May 1998.
Bull Cook & Authentic Historic Recipes and Practices, by George Leomard Herter and Berthe E. Herter, 1969.
Caesar Salad - "Who Cooked That Up?" by J. J. Schnebel.
Epicurean Delight - The Life and Times of James Beard, by Evan Jones, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1990.
From Julia Child's Kitchen, by Julia Child, Alfred A/. Knopf, Inc., 1970.
In Search of Caesar - The Ultimate Caesar Salad Book, by Terry D. Greenfield, Tjicknor & Fields, 1983.
Lights! Camera! Salad! - The Cobb Salad, by Vincent J. Schodolski, Tribune Staff Writer, August 26, 1998, Chicago Tribune newspaper.
New York Wanders Uptown, Old and Sold, Antiques Auctiion & Marketplace, originally published 1931.
Recipes Named After Restaurants Recall Bygone Era, by Fran Gardner, The Oregonian FOODday, June 19, 1999.
The Brown Derby Restaurant - A Hollywood Legend, by Sally Wright Cobb and Mark Willems, Rizzoli, 1996.
The Cookbook by "Oscar" of the Waldorf, Oscar Tschirky, Saafield Publishing Company, Chicago, 1896
The crab Louis' origin may be cloudy, but the salad's popularity is clear, by Penelope Corcoran, Seattle Port-Intelligencer newspaper, Wednesday, July 23, 2003.
The Davenport Hotel and Tower, Hotel History.
The Dictionary of American Food & Drink, by John F. Mariani, Ticknor & Fields, 1983.
The Food Chronology, by James Trager, Henry Holt and Company, 1995.
The Secret Life of Food: A Feast of Food and Drink History, Folklore, and Fact, by Martin Elkort, St. Martin's Press, 1991.
The Waldorf Astoria Cookbook, by Ted James and Rosalind Cole, Bramhall House, 1981 Edition.
Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens, Ohio University Press, 1998.
West Coast Cook Book, by Helen Evans Brown, Little, Brown and Company (a reprint of the original by The Cookbook Collectors Library).
What's Cooking America, by Linda
Stradley, Chehalem Publishing, 1997.