Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hotel Dressings.

Today, October 2nd

The original Palace Hotel opened on this day in San Francisco in 1875. It has seen much history, has hosted many important events, and has had many celebrity guests. One of the celebrities in 1923 was the English actor George Arliss who was appearing in the town in an enormously popular stage play called “The Green Goddess”. The chef of the hotel at the time, Philip Roemer, created a new salad dressing for a dinner held in Arliss’ honour.

The herby green dressing was served at this dinner with a salad of artichokes filled with seafood: naturally it was called “Green Goddess Dressing”, and it has been on the menu at the hotel ever since. It seems that it has had several tweakings at the whim of various chefs ever since, but essentially is a mayonnaise base with a lot of herbs plus anchovies. Recipes abound on the internet, and many claim to be the original version (the versions containing sour cream are not likely). I have been unable to find the truly original version, but this one is probably close.

Green Goddess Dressing.
2 cups mayonnaise
1 garlic clove
4 anchovy fillets, minced or finely chopped
1 chopped green onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
Mix well together: for authenticity the ingredients should be chopped or crushed (no electric blenders in 1923).

America took on the concept of composed salad dressings with great enthusiasm in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the rest of the world was happy enough with plain vinaigrette and plain mayonnaise, Americans invented Blue Cheese dressing, Ranch Dressing, Russian dressing, Thousand Island dressing and a whole host of others. I wondered if other hotels got in on the act, and immediately found these, in Fannie Farmer’s A New Book of Cookery (1912):

Carlton Salad Dressing.
¾ cup Mayonnaise Dressing
2 tablespoons tomato puree
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon A.I. sauce
Mix ingredients in order given.
To obtain tomato puree drain one-half can tomatoes, put in saucepan, bring to the boiling point and let simmer until reduced one-half. Force through a fine strainer, return to saucepan and let simmer (having an asbestos cover under saucepan) until thick in consistency.

to be served with ….

Carlton Salad.
Separate French Endive into pieces and clean; drain and chill. Cut cold cooked beets in one-quarter-inch slices and slices into rings and fancy shapes, using a French vegetable cutter. Arrange pieces of endive through beet rings. Arrange for individual service on crisp lettuce leaves, allowing two leaves, two bunches of endive in rings and five shapes for each portion.

Astoria Salad Dressing
¼ cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Tomato Catsup
½ tablespoon finely chopped green pepper
¼ cup French Dressing
3 drops Tabasco Sauce
Add French Dressing slowly to Mayonnaise Dressing, stirring constantly; then add remaining ingredients.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Purple Sauce?

Quotation for the Day …

Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion. Ambrose Bierce.


Joanna said...

I had no idea .... fascinating, and, even though we hardly eat mayo, I think I'm going to make some GG dressing for our artichokes this evening. I may even find myself preparing the artichokes a la francaise, and - if I do - I will think of you and try not to curse ;)

Wonderful stuff - thanks

Rayne said...

I had no idea that mayonnaise, A-1 and Worcestershire sauce have been around for so long.