The Caesar Salad Surprise
We all probably saw this gem floating around for a while on the internet. Originally a tweet from @InternetHippo, the concept exploded in popularity. Enough to inspire an artist to work with the original Twitter user, apparently. This does bring up an interesting historical point, though. The Caesar salad was not actually invented in Italy! Let alone during the Roman Empire. It’s actually far more recent than that.
Our story starts with Caesar Cardini. An Italian immigrant who owned and operated restaurants in both San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. He served his alcohol at the latter location to skirt the rules of the Prohibition still in effect at the time. According to his daughter, Rosa, Caesar served his first eponymous salad when a particularly busy Fourth of July lunch rush emptied his food stores in 1924. Scrounging for really anything that could satisfy his customers, he put together a bowl of lettuce, olive oil, garlic, pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and croutons. Finishing off with quite the flourish as he mixed the bowl right at the table, everyone loved his creation. A majority of the ingredients are included in the modern-day Caesar salad dressing, giving us a taste of his creativity/desperation. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
So it turns out that the famous Caesar salad originates not from across the Atlantic, but the Rio Grande instead. This got me wondering if the ancient Romans DID invent any neat salads, and it turns out they did! “Columella’s Salad”, named after the Roman soldier/farmer who wrote about it, is both simple and delicious. As opposed to the traditional lettuce we’re used to, Coriander, Mint, and Parsley make up the greens. Toss in some leek, thyme, cheese (chef’s choice), olive oil, pepper, and vinegar to complete a dish almost 2,000 years old.
We don’t serve this oldie-but-goodie, but we do have a great Caesar! You can classically eat it off a plate or out of a bowl, or mix it up a bit and build your own on some of our delicious bread. Regardless of how you like your veggies, The Local Deli’s got you covered!