Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What is Salad?

Salad, Fresh, Veggies, Vegetables  Growing up, there were four salads served in my family.  The first is the ubiquitous lettuce and tomato salad with a few other veggies all drenched in bottled salad dressing.  The second was the wonderful macaroni and mayo with a bit of pickle relish thrown in.  This was served with everything.  The third was potato salad occasionally served as German potato salad due to mom throwing bacon in it.  Finally, my grandmother's jello salad.  It was usually celery jello with canned veggies but occasionally she switched it out for orange jello with fruit made in a bundt pan.

It wasn't until I became an adult that I discovered a ton of dishes out there called "Salads".  Did you every wonder what makes it a salad rather than an appetizer or a side dish? I looked up the definition which doesn't always jive with things like Pasta salad or three bean salad.

According to one of the online dictionaries, a salad is defined as a cold dish of mixed vegetables either cooked or raw served with a dressing.  Another dictionary adds a second definition where the salad is composed of small pieces of food (vegetables, pasta, fruit, or cheese) served with a dressing or set in gelatin.  Apparently the word Salad comes from the Latin the form Salata (root word sal or salt) which means salted things because salt was an ingredient in most dressings.

According to various sources, salads have been around since Roman and Greek times.  In fact, dinner salads became popular in Renaissance times while the layered salad aka chefs salad became popular in the 18th century when it was referred to as Salmagundi. Up until the 17th century most salads were only greens with a dressing.

Around the 17th century, the Bound salads or salads with meat came into popularity.  During the Civil War, the cold chicken salad started making its appearance where it originated in Rhode Island.  As time progressed, the salads evolved into Tuna salads, Pasta salads, and Taco Salads.

Some time in the 18th century, vegetable salads like Cole Slaw, Caesar salad, Cobb salad, developed.  About the same time, dessert salads made an appearance with the Fruit Salad during the Civil War, followed by the Waldorf salad (yes its named after the hotel), cookie salads, and Jello salads.

So what is your favorite salad?  Mine is now carrot raisin with walnuts smothered in Miracle Whip.  Check here tomorrow for information on Salad Dressings.

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