Waldorf: The Hotel and the Salad
Most salads come by their name pretty honestly. What after all would you expect to find in a carrot salad?
As salads grew in popularity throughout the years though, a “salad” came to mean more than just a dish of greens and vegetables. By the turn of the 19th century, we begin to see more “dinner” or “full-meal” type salads like chicken, potato, pasta, tuna or taco salad.
And then there were always a few salads around, that though delicious, often came with very funny names. Kind of like your sweet-natured dog with a name like Spud. If you came across such salads as the Cobb, Chef, Caesar, Nicoise, Coleslaw, Panzanella or Caprese salads on your menu, you might have had to ask the waiter exactly what was in them! These salads were often named after the person who invented them or the place where they originally came from.
The Waldorf salad comes from this family. It’s a special salad with a special name that doesn’t always give you a clue what is in it!
This salad, which is unique as a combination vegetable and fruit salad, was created in 1896 not by a chef, but by the maître d’hôtel of the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, Oscar Tschirky. The hotel has a fascinating all of its own, but those who haven’t heard of the Waldorf hotel, have often heard instead of the Waldorf salad.
The classic Waldorf Salad was nothing more than finely chopped celery and apples in a mayonnaise dressing. Later on, walnuts were added. It is an excellent salad to serve with meats or other heavy main dishes and one of the only salads to be name after a famous hotel 🙂