This article was written by Phineas Upham
The dinner salad, as we know of it today, started to gain real popularity in the Renaissance. Though salad was consumed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, their version was simple. It often called for the leafy green with a dressing of oil or vinegar. The word salad has the base Latin word “sal” in it, which means “salted.” Literally, “salata” meant “salted things” and salt was often used as a primary ingredient for the green mix.
While most people who look at lettuce immediately perceive salad in their minds, the key ingredient to salad is actually the dressing. It’s a misconception that the Romans began the Caesar salad tradition. That actually comes from Tijuana Mexico during the 1920s, when Hollywood folk would cross the border to get away from prohibition. The Caesar salad was a unique taste invented by Caesar Cardini.
Salad was also popular as a dietary supplement. Ancient doctors believed that salads would help the digestion for anything that came after them. There was also debate about the merits of the dressing, with some saying that the vinegar dressing destroyed the taste of wine. So it was not uncommon to see salad at the beginning or the end of the meal, depending on the beliefs that the host subscribed to.
When salad started to gain popularity in the United States, it was during a period of extreme order. The “tossed” salad we know today was carefully rearranged to show some form of order in the mix. Thus, Jell-o molds were more popular ways to serve salad as they allowed the cook to arrange the ingredients in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.