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What is salad?

What is salad?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Food historians tell us salads (generally defined as mixed greens with dressing) were enjoyed by ancient Romans and Greeks. As time progressed, salads became more complicated. Recipes varied according to place and time.IMG_2665

Why do we call it salad?
The basis for the word salad is ‘sal’, meaning salt, because in ancient times, salt was often an ingredient in the dressing.

“Salad, a term derived from the Latin sal (salt), became salata, ‘salted things’, such as the raw vegetables eaten in classical times with a dressing of oil, vinegar or salt.dsc_6235

“Although the ancient Greeks & Romans did not use the world “salad,” they enjoyed a variety of dishes with raw vegetables dressed with vinegar, oil & herbs…

Medical practitioners Hippocrates and Galen believed that raw vegetables easily slipped through the system & did not create obstructions for what followed, therefore they should be served first.IMG_2493

Awesome resource for research notes found here : http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsalads.html There is so much interesting history to be found out there, but today, we will just have a fun little approach to a few old favourites :))

So these days, we mix all this info up with current ingredients & make some fantastic salads…pretty, good for us all, & yummy too!IMG_2617

Caesar Salad:

We found out that this famous Caesar Salad is less than 100 years old! This Italian-born entrepreneur, Caesar Cardini emigrated to US during the time alcohol was banned there. He & brother Alex realised the lengths people would go to for a drink & so jumped the border into Mexico & opened a restaurant in Tijuana.                         

Due to it’s success, (alcohol & Italian food) it is said that they ran out of ingredients & threw together a salad of what was left…lettuce, parmesan cheese, eggs, oil, croutons, lemon juice, black pepper & worcestershire sauce, & famously tossed it tableside in front of their customers.DSC_8831

The story goes that because of it’s popularity among a group of partying Hollywood actors, it became a favourite & demanded dish of the stars of the day wherever they travelled in the world…

And the anchovy addition?…The most common theory involves Worcestershire sauce. The thinking is that someone, somewhere along the way…ran out of Worcestershire sauce…saw anchovy on the list of ingredients and made the brilliant substitution.

Don’t know when the bacon was added :))IMG_2632

Greek Salad:

Greek salad is made of Greek-inspired ingredients, with pieces of tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, onion, feta cheese, & olives, typically seasoned with salt & oregano, dressed with olive oil. Tiny pickled leaves, buds or berries of capers are a fabulous addition.
“Horiatiki salata” in Greek, meaning “rustic salad” or “summer salad.” Since the essential cuisine of the Greek people is down-to-earth  & uncomplicated, feel confident to duplicate your version of a Greek Salad recipe at home.iphone 218

Nigel Slater cautions readers to “make sure the cucumber is chilled. This salad must be cold and salty to be truly refreshing.”
Use the sweetest ripe red tomatoes & chilled cucumber, rich olives and salty feta.
Nigella replaces the cucumber with shaved fennel, which would work really well with these flavours.IMG_7890

Greek salad is a “must” for summer as it is a light meal with low calories. Known to be high in nutritional value. Go easy on the feta though…

Great with lamb skewers or a good crusty bread :))IMG_2662

 

Coleslaw:

Good old coleslaw…consisting mostly of shredded cabbage, carrot & vinegary mayo.

Originated in America way back in 17th century after loads of Dutch immigrants settled in New York state, bringing with them a favourite cabbage salad recipe.

There was apparently some confusion as to whether it should be “cold slaw” or “coleslaw.”IMG_2619

However in England, where the dish became popular in 19th century, the correct term was adopted as “cole” (meaning plants of the Brassica family) which was already linked to the cabbage.IMG_1930

Far removed from it’s original form, these days we have countless versions….we can add celery, red cabbage, shallots, red onions, green apple, (we personally like ours with a few finely sliced pickled gherkins.)

The trick is to keep that cabbage paper thin!

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This is a healthy snippet of what goes on in my kitchen, & part of Celia’s In My Kitchen post…check it out :))

http://figjamandlimecordial.com/

Also a huge thanks to the gorgeous Maureen from Orgasmic Chef for heading me on the path to gastronomic enlightenment :))

Maureen is a gem & one of Australia’s top food bloggers…as well as a whole host of other prestigious accomplishments. Read her personality, she is cheeky, real & refreshing :))

http://www.orgasmicchef.com/

And happy eating!

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21 Comments
  1. Salads! I couldn’t survive an Australian summertime without them. You’ve listed my all-time favourites. Thanks for the kind words and I am looking forward to our get-together on Wednesday! 🙂

    • Oh squeal!! Me too Maureen :))
      And don’t salads leave you open for all sorts of creativity! Pretty, healthy, tasty….whatever you want them to be!
      I love making them, eating them & seeing peoples delight when they see them & try them :))
      Bring on summer….xx

  2. Hi Roni, thanks for joining the fun. Those salads look amazing. In the summer I have a salad every day, but my taste for them quickly diminishes in the winter. I think that is as nature intended!! Very interesting to read some of the histories of salads, thanks again.

    • Hey there lovely & thanks for commenting…can’t wait to join in the fun :)) Will learn lots of fantastic info & tips from this tribe… & yes, I think you are right with salads not being quite as easy in winter, but they are soo soo gorgeous in the warmer months.
      I love creating variations of them with the goodies I have or want to experiment with, they are so pretty & yummy!
      cheers Roni xx

  3. Roni, what an incredibly interesting post! I love salads – especially those made with fresh produce from my little garden. I will look upon my humble offerings with much more reverence from now on! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Oh Marian, how lovely! So pleased that you will see your salads more delightfully now.
      There is so much history about traditional salads I was thinking of doing a whole series…
      And how awesome that you can pluck ingredients right from your own garden…nothing tastes better!

  4. What a fabulous array of salads and interesting historical notes to match. I don’t know which one I want to eat the most- they all looks so vibrant.

    • lol, thanks Francesca.
      Yes, the history of salads is proving quite interesting I think…I’m learning lots too :))
      I see you have an Italian connection, can’t wait to share my previous Italian adventures with you. Did 3 months in Sicily earlier this year, with a Duchess & her cooking classes. Blogged along the way…
      Una volta nella vita :))
      ciao bella
      Roni xx

  5. G’day! What a lovely post and always enjoy learning new things, especially about salads!
    Love your photos and thank you for welcoming me in your kitchen this month too!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • how fabulous Joanne…lovely to hear from you! Yeah, salads are the bomb with the warmer weather. And thankyou for your kind words :)) Looking forward to playing in some more kitchens too…lol,
      cheers Roni xx

  6. Love, love, love salads… and yours look especially inviting in this summer heat! Happy cooking,

    • Oh Lizzy, thanks so much. Yep, you can’t beat an awesome salad or two :)) Happy healthy festive season to you xxx

  7. My oh my those tomatoes are just beautiful, makes me yearn for ours to start ripening. I LOVE salad but have a hard time getting my husband on board as he grew up with wilted lettuce, 3 day old carrot, cucumber and some egg thrown in a bowl and that is all he thinks a salad can be. Some mothers have a lot to answer too with instilling bad food images into kids heads 🙂 They look amazing, thanks.

    • hello Maree, & thanks for stopping by.
      Yes, it is a shame, but perhaps you can switch the love of salads on by combining a few favourite things together & adding a dressing…
      There are so many ways of presenting assorted ingredients, even warm salads, or grain/pasta salads, just a few ideas to get the juices flowing, lol.
      A pretty pile of yummy things with maybe a creamy sauce, or just a simple squeeze of lime :))
      Happy creating xx

  8. Oh how I love salad. I envy you all in the Southern Hemisphere right now! We grow many varieties of lettuces in the summer and have so many different salad all season. At least right now I can still enjoy a salad with pears, but how I miss my homegrown tomatoes. Happy Holidays!

    • Hey Gretchen, thanks for stopping by :))
      Pears in salads are awesome I reckon, so lucky you….but I will think of you when we bite into our lovely red tomatoes.
      It gives us something else to look forward to with the changing of the seasons, lol.
      Cheers & stay warm, Roni xx

  9. yum salads are so great in summer. i am actually starting to eat iceberg lettuce again after years of not doing so. somehow it just tastes right in certain salads. your tomatoes look beautiful, and the radishes look so tasty. have a great xmas.

    • Hey Sherry, thanks so much for stopping by & appreciating the yumminess of salads.
      We wish you & your special people an awesome festive season too…look forward to chatting again next year :))
      Cheers Roni xx

  10. Thanks for joining in! What a gorgeous post – all your salads look amazing! 🙂

    • Hey Celia, thanks so much for the opportunity & warm welcome :))
      Hope your days are filled with food, fun, family & friends…so looking forward to the new years adventures.
      Ciao Bella xx

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