What is the Real History of Caesar Salad?
Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce, or similar greens, along with a garlic vinaigrette. This recipe was voted as America’s Greatest Recipe in the Past 50 Years by master chefs in 1930 at the International Society of Epicures. There are various stories about the history of Caesar salad and nobody knows for sure how it was invented.
The Mexican Theory
Some people believe that Caesar Cardini invented this recipe in Tijuana, Mexico. The story goes that Cardini was running out of ingredients to make food and he put together romaine, garlic, parmesan, croutons, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and boiled eggs to make the first Caesar salad. The romaine leaves were served stem side out and coated with dressing so you could eat them with your fingers.
It is claimed that Wallis Simpson would visit the restaurant to eat Caesar salad (and usually demand that Caesar Cardini himself would make it for her). She was the first to cut the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and eat this recipe with her knife and fork. This trend soon caught on.
Another Possible Inventor
Other people believe that Giacomo Junia, an Italian chef living in Chicago, made the first Caesar salad. Giacomo Junio worked in The New York Cafe. He made mostly American food because there was not much demand for Italian recipes like pasta or pizza.
Junio invented the salad and named it the Caesar salad, after Julius Caesar (since both the chef in this story and the historical figure, Julius Caesar, were Italian). Apparently Junio was surprised when the salad became immediately popular. Nobody knows which (if either) of these stories is the correct version of events.
The Elegance of Caesar Salad
Different salads serve different purposes. Some are thrown together for a hasty sandwich filling and others are meant to be a speedy lunchtime snack. Other salads are made to use up vegetables which are getting beyond their prime or prepared as a side dish. Then you have elegant salads. There are elegant salad recipes which feature shellfish, still in its shell, and there are others boasting exotic fruits or unusual vegetables. Another elegant salad recipe is Caesar salad, and the elegance of this one comes from its history as well as the ingredients used.
This unique salad is instantly recognizable and it is served in some of the best restaurants, often prepared tableside by a competent cook. Caesar salad is one of the most recognizable salads and it is also one of the most flavorful. This salad does not feature a lot of different ingredients but its egg, cheese, lettuce, lemon, garlic, olive oil, and other ingredients all blend together beautifully, giving it a classic, timeless elegance. The fascinating history of Caesar salad makes it even more interesting as a dish.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-28-16
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