A Brief History of Salad

Salad Originated in the Roman Era

Salad was originally eaten by ancient Romans and Greeks and has since evolved, with combinations varying. In the 18th century, layered salads known as Salmagundi, or chef’s salad today, were popular.

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The Latin word ‘sal’ gave us salt, which was in the dressing, and the word salata was born – it means ‘salted things’ like raw vegetables in a dressing of oil, salt or vinegar. Interestingly, the key ingredient of salad is the dressing.

After the fall of Rome, salads became less prevalent in Europe. Then at the end of the 19th century, particularly in the USA, home economics took off and mixed greens were born. American salads consisted of combinations of greens with a meat such as chicken or lobster, evolving to include a variety of different foods. Some home cooks would mould the salad with gelatine.

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Salads remained popular in America in the 1920s with cookbooks devoted to creating arrays of combinations. Today, American salads vary from the basic lettuce, tomato and cucumber drizzled in dressing to more creative offerings of greens and noodles with sesame-seed sauce and Asian fruits. Salads made without lettuce and more exotic fruit combinations can be found in modern restaurants and salad bars.

Different Combinations of Salad Appeal to Different Palates

Salads are renowned for being healthy and nutritious, and according to Body and Soul, it’s possible to create a sumptuous salad that’s less than 350 calories.

Proprietors of cafes, restaurants and salad bars use a saladette counter to store prepared ingredients. They are available from commercial suppliers such as www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-refrigeration-brands/i-l/interlevin/interlevin-esa900-refrigerated-saladette-counter.

There are many different combinations of salad – some famous, some less well known. From tossed salads to Caesar salad and tuna, Waldorf and chicken salad, the combinations are endless. Even pasta serves as an enticing ingredient. In the early 20th century, recipes for macaroni-type salads evolved. Mayonnaise was a typical dressing used to bind the pasta, and the dish was served in a mould.

The key to a successful salad is to make sure everything is crisp and cold. Carrots, turnips and parsnips can spice up a salad and give it a tang and a crunch. Consider radishes, chives, cucumbers and onions as garnishes. Parsley, peppers, green olives, pickles, hard boiled eggs and pomegranate seeds are also good additions to spice up a salad.