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With Americans love for pasta it was only a matter of time before pasta salad emerged first appearing as simple macaroni salad giving way to more sophisticated versions and add-ins. European immigrants brought their potato salad recipes to America both cold and hot which utilized the inexpensive and easy-to-grow potato as a hearty base. Europe was serving up potato salad as early as the 1600s usually mixed with vinegar oil and bacon the forerunner of German potato salad served hot. Warmer climates enjoyed potatoes cold with cream and vegetables.The French no slouches in the cuisine department took it one step further adding mayonnaise herbs and mustard Dijon of course. (No self-respecting Frenchman would even think of using yellow mustard as Americans do.) Since the 1970s when salad bars became de rigueur the lowly salad has taken center stage no longer an afterthought alongside a main course. Supermarkets feature prepackaged lettuce and salad fixings boxed pasta salad mix and rows of greens and colorful vegetables all waiting to be dressed up.
No longer considered "rabbit food " we can indulge almost anywhere. So belly up to the bar and dig in. One of the most common questions friends and family have asked me since I became a cook is how do restaurants make ____ taste so good . This can be steak seafood veggies sauces dessert or in this case salad. Now don t get me wrong - restaurant salads can be notorious for being hit or miss in terms of taste. But when they re a hit they re really a hit. Just like a good steak eating a good salad at a restaurant leaves you thinking how did they do this? and why can t I make salads like this at home? . Restaurant salads are good for a number of reasons. Not all restaurants will employ each technique when making their salad but any combination will make a salad great.
Simple vinegar and oil made room for bottled dressings and mayo paving the way for "bound salads." Sounds a little kinky but this category includes some of our favorites: tuna salad chicken salad egg salad ham salad shrimp and crab salad. The chicken came first showing up in mid-1800s cookbooks tuna much later with the advent of canned tuna. In the late 1930s Spam made ham salad easy and egg salad was a natural. With the introduction of Jello gelatin molded salads took their colorful place at any luncheon. Restauranteur Robert Cobb created the salad that bears his name at his Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood; chef salad debuted at the Ritz Carlton in New York and originally included sliced ox tongue along with ham and cheese. (Mercifully in later years turkey or chicken replaced the ox tongue.) In Hollywood s early days Caesar salad was embraced by the stars who happily munched on this trendy salad at some of their favorite restaurants.