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A delicate seasonal food it was enjoyed in summer only and not available year round until the 20th century when California grew and shipped head lettuce nationwide. No question foodie president Thomas Jefferson experimented with a number of varieties which were served daily to his family and dinner guests with vinaigrette dressing or a sprinkling of herbs and mayonnaise (his chef was French-trained). As Americans developed more sophisticated tastes traditional iceberg lettuce took a backseat to Romaine arugula endive radicchio and field greens. Originally these varieties were considered greens for the elite due to price and perishability. Of late retro salads are showing up with quarters of iceberg lettuce and dressing. For Boomers who grew up on the stuff it harkens back to the 50s along with Spam salad meatloaf canned fruit cocktail and Popsicles.
And even if you re trying to make some pasta salad with some seafood like shrimp or tuna lettuce leaves are still great for filling and presentation by making them act as a bed for the whole salad. After creating the bed and filling you can then go ahead and put all of your prepared vegetables into the main course salad mix. Possible examples would be mushrooms onions peppers tomatoes and cucumbers. These veggies act as enhancement ingredients for your main course salad. As a matter of fact the more veggies you pack in the better. Of course this is as long as the vegetable you re putting in will taste good for you. You really don t want to make something you wouldn t want to eat right? Salads can be a complete main course dish too and with that said let s take an ease now on all the vegetables and make the salad more filling. Chopped sliced or diced meat like chicken beef or pork is an optional addition to a perfect salad.
Some forms of salad have been consumed for centuries originally made mostly of cabbage and root vegetables flavored with vinegar oils and herbs. Ancient Greeks believed that raw green vegetables promoted good digestion and the Romans agreed. Early recordings of lettuce appeared back in the 6th century B.C. although it bore little resemblance to our current varieties. Salads have come a long way since the pedestrian lettuce tomato and cucumber version. Today there is no end to the hundreds of varieties ingredients and dressings available to our salad-crazed nation. In the 1920s they hit the big time as restaurant chefs created Caesar Chef Cobb and fruit salads. Canned veggies and fruits became more available and were tossed into the mix allowing Americans to eat salads year round.