Caesar salad is one of my favorite lunch foods. You can shovel it in and talk at the same time.Janet Street-Porter
Anyone who has ever had a traditional Italian meal or been to an Italian restaurant knows this delicious salad mix referred to as Caesar Salad. Comprised of romaine lettuce and croutons with a delicious blend of parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice (and, in some cases, anchovies) many people feel that this salad is something akin to heaven in a bowl.
That’s why National Caesar Salad Day came to pass, to celebrate this delicious blend of foliage and seasonings!
History Of National Caesar Salad Day
The first thing to know about Caesar Salad is that it was not actually named for the ill-fated leader of Rome. At least not directly. No, the salad is instead credited to Caesar Cardini, an Italian Immigrant who got into the restaurant business in the US and Mexico in the early 20th century.
Like most of the great culinary inventions, the Caesar Salad wasn’t necessarily the result of a deliberate design or a stroke of genius. Instead, it came about in a moment of desperation. At one point in 1924 there was a bit of a rush on Caesar Cardini’s restaurant in Tijuana.
As the day happened to be the 4th of July, many merry-makers were celebrating American Independence Day and Cardini was stuck without enough food to feed them all. So the clever chef quickly got to work to keep the customers happy, throwing whatever he could into a bowl.
The result? This delicious combination of ingredients, delivered with a little ‘chef’s flair’, as Cardini tossed it right at the table.
From there, these American guests loved what they ate so much that they took the idea with them back to California. Then, it eventually made its way to New York City in the 1940s and many people there still love it today.
Like most food, the Caesar Salad has undergone multiple permutations throughout the history of its existence. Originally, anchovies were not included as part of the salad, and that can still be commonplace today. In some restaurants that are fancier, however, patrons may occasionally find bits of actual anchovy in with the salad. In addition, as a complement to the natural anchovy flavor, comes the Worcestershire sauce.
Cardini would likely not be pleased by the common occurrence of using anchovies as he was decidedly opposed to placing anchovy directly in his salad. Of course, that’s not all that has been added over time! Many different versions of the salad exist today, including Steak Caesar Salad, Chicken Caesar Salad, even shrimp Caesar Salad. All of these have graced the menus of various restaurants throughout the world.
How to Celebrate National Caesar Salad Day
Ready to celebrate National Caesar Salad Day? So get started! Consider these ideas for getting into the spirit of celebrating this healthy, delicious salad that can be eaten as a side dish or a meal:
Eat a Traditional Caesar Salad
The best way to celebrate this day is to make sure to eat a traditional Caesar Salad, eaten in the traditional style! That’s right, most people have been eating Caesar Salad wrong all this time!
The correct way to eat this delicious salad is to have it prepared with whole romaine leaves. In fact, it is truly proper to consume the salad by lifting those leaves by the stem and eating them with the fingers. Cardini never intended for this to be a salad eaten with a fork!
But, alas, even if it isn’t eaten as a finger food, enjoying one of these delicious salads is the perfect way to honor the day.
Try Making a Caesar Salad
In today’s world, making such a salad is pretty easy because most grocery stores offer bottle versions of Caesar Dressing that are simple and delicious. Just toss some romaine lettuce, a bit of shaved romano or parmesan cheese and a few crunchy croutons into a bowl. Pour some bottled dressing over the mixture and, just to get fancy, squeeze a lemon on the top for fun. A tasty and (somewhat) healthy treat!
Learn Some Fun Facts About Caesar Salad
Of course, everyone now knows that Caesar the Roman ruler had nothing to do with the salad. But what other interesting facts remain unknown? Learn these and spread them around on National Caesar Salad Day to keep the fun alive!
- The Guinness World Record for the largest caesar salad was set in Tijuana, Mexico by Canirac restaurant in 2007. It weighed more than 3 tons and took more than 160 participants to make it!
- As Caesar Salad popularity grew, so did the demand for Romaine Lettuce. Today there are nearly 80,000 acres of romaine lettuce farms and between 1990 and 2009, the per capita consumption of romaine in the US increased by more than 600%!
- Some people are worried that the raw eggs in Caesar Salad dressing might create a problem with salmonella. However, the fact that it is combined with lemon juice means that any germs will be killed off by the citrus fruit acidity. So it’s safe to eat raw eggs in Caesar dressing!
- The original Caesar salad made by Cardini didn’t contain anchovies and it also only had one large crouton–not several like it is served today.
However anyone plans to indulge, be sure to enjoy a big Caesar Salad for National Caesar Salad Day!