As winter passes away and spring comes to the New England states, we begin to crave something a little fresher, a little cleaner and a little healthier. What better way to celebrate the season than with a tasty salad at Persy’s Place? Serving customers throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Eastern Rhode Island, there are nine different Persy’s locations available for you to visit.
The History of the Salad
The salad, which is defined as a bowl or plate of mixed greens with some sort of dressing, was actually enjoyed centuries ago by the Greeks and Romans. Over time, recipes for salads became more complex and diverse, representing the cultures, tastes and harvests of the regions that created them.
Dinner salads first came into vogue in the Renaissance period. In the mid-18th century, salads that were made from layers of unique ingredients became popular and were called “Salmagundi” but are today known as the Chef’s Salad.
The root of the word “salad” comes from the Latin word sal, which means salt. In ancient times, salt was the most common ingredient used in the dressings made for the salads that were served. Raw veggies were eaten with a dressing made of oil, vinegar and salt.
By the 14th century the word “salade” was seen in French writings and in Old English as “salad” or “sallet,” according to the Oxford Companion to Food. Some food historians believe the word salad, as we use it today, comes from the Latin “herba salata” which translates literally as “salted herb,” which seems appropriate.
The Chef Salad
As we now know, the Chef Salad or Chef’s Salad, traces its roots back to “Salmagundi” in the 18th century. However, the salad that we all know and love today, which consists of layered ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, meats like chicken, ham or turkey, cheese, lettuce and dressing, has been the subject of debate by food historians and foodies alike.
Before its popularity, “Salmagundi” was served in Colonial America after traveling across the Atlantic from 17th century England. However, others claim that the Chef’s Salad was originated in the United States, not brought over from Europe, giving credit to the chefs that made it popular. Again, there is much debate surrounding the American chef that deserves the credit as well, with some experts claiming a New York chef was the creator and others claiming a chef from California was the first.
The New York chef most agreed upon was Louis Diat, who was a chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City during the 1940s. However, it was Chef Victor Seydoux of the Hotel Buffalo in Buffalo, New York who later held positions at the Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf-Astoria hotels who made the salad popular with modern Americans. Seydoux is known as the chef that introduced Thousand Island Dressing, a popular dressing served with the Chef’s Salad, to his guests at the Ritz-Carlton in New York, which may be the real reason why he is associated with this particular dish.
The Caesar Salad
Yet another salad surrounded by controversy, the Caesar Salad is one of the more popular salads served around the world. It was voted in the 1930s as the “greatest recipe to originate from the Americas” and many chefs claimed it as their own. In 1903, an Italian cook named Giacomo Junia in Chicago began serving the Caesar Salad at a tiny restaurant called The New York Cafe. Consisting of Romaine lettuce and a special dressing, Junia was surprised at the salad’s popularity.
However, some claim that the salad was actually born in Tijuana, Mexico and was created to honor a famous Mexican restauranteur named Caesar Cardini. Those who believe this version of its invention claim that the salad was created from leftovers on a busy Fourth of July weekend in 1924. The salad was later changed when Caesar’s brother Alex Cardini joined him at the Tijuana restaurant, adding anchovies to the list of ingredients and renaming the salad the “Aviator’s Salad” after the time he served as an ace pilot during WWI.
In fact, giving credence to this version, Julia Child wrote about driving to Tijuana with her family as a child in 1925 or 1925 to go to lunch at the famous Caesar’s restaurant, which had been touted by the Hollywood elite, including Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and W.C. Fields. She recalled seeing Caesar himself breaking the eggs over the Romaine lettuce to serve the famous salad tableside, calling it a “sensation from coast to coast.”
Springtime Salads at Persy’s Place
You can try both the Caesar Salad and the Chef’s Salad at Persy’s Place – or be adventurous and try Persy’s own creation, the “ABLT” salad, which is a chopped salad that contains avacado, bacon, lettuce and tomato. With 9 unique locations all throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Eastern Rhode Island, there’s a little something for everyone and a Persy’s conveniently located near you. Open daily for breakfast and lunch – come see the menu that has been called “New England’s Largest Breakfast & Lunch Menu.”