The original Waldorf hotel opened on this day in 1893 with a charity concert in honour of St Mary’s Hospital for Children. The New York Times referred to it as a Mi-Careme event - that is, an event held in the middle of Lent to celebrate the half-way point of abstinence has been reached. It seems unlikely that the wealthy social elite of New York had suffered much deprivation during the first half of Lent, and it seems even more unlikely that they were served a maigre dinner on the night, but the exact details of the meal do not appear to have been preserved.
Oscar Tshirky, the famous “Oscar of the Waldorf” was was the maitre d’hotel from the opening of the hotel until he retired in 1943. Although he was not a chef, it seems he had some hand in suggesting or inspiring food ideas, and tradition says he invented the Waldorf Salad for the hotel opening. In 1896 he authored a cookbook called very unpretentiously The Cook Book, and he included his recipe for the salad:
Peel two raw apples and cut them into small pieces, say about half an inch square, also cut some celery the same way, and mix it with the apple. Be very careful not to let any seeds of the apples be mixed with it. The salad must be dressed with a good mayonnaise.
Did you notice that there are no walnuts in this recipe? When did they get added?
There is a recipe in The Times Cook Book, No. 2: 957 Cooking And Other Recipes.../By California Women; Brought Out By The 1905 Series Of Prize Recipe Contests In The Los Angeles Times of 1905. I don’t know if it is the first nutty version, but here it is, thanks to Miss K. Hamin of 353 South Alvarado street.
Three-fourths cup chopped nuts, half cup chopped celery; one cup apple cut fine, dash of paprika, and salt to taste. Mix with mayonnaise or any other salad dressing as preferred. Enough for six persons.
There seems to be an irrepressible human urge to tweak every perfectly good recipe. Mrs Howard P. Denison thought orange rind would be just right, and she contributed her idea to The good housekeeping woman's home cook book (1909) by Isable Gordon Curtis.
Two cups of celery chopped fine, grated rind of one orange, one cup of apples cut in dice. If fine red apples take six and scoop out insides, making little cups for the salads. Mix the above with the following mayonnaise: One very cold egg yolk with one teaspoon of onion juice and yolk of one boiled egg, one cup of cold olive oil, one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of vinegar, one tablespoon of lemon juice, one teaspoon of salt, one-fourth teaspoon of cayenne, one-half teaspoon of mustard. Mix thoroughly by stirring oil, drop by drop, to the egg and a few drops of vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper, etc, which have been previously thoroughly mixed together; then fill the cups or make plain mixture, serving on white lettuce leaves. Cheese balls are delicious served with this salad.
Anyone out there have any other versions to add?
Tomorrow’s Story …
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Today is Isabella Beeton’s birthday
Quotation for the Day …
Quotation for the Day …
To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist - the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know how much oil one must mix with one's vinegar. Oscar Wilde