Why a Waldorf Salad Is Called a Waldorf Salad
The Waldorf salad, with its sweetness and its crunch, is a classic for a reason. There’s a lot to love about its blend of apples, celery, walnuts and lettuce, with just the right amount of mayo and lemon, maybe some grapes.
For most of us, the Waldorf seems like a salad staple, something that’s always been there. But, on the occasion of last week's closing (temporarily, for renovations) of its namesake New York City hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, the New York Times has recalled the salad’s origins.
Here is the lowdown on how one of America’s favorite salads came to be — and why a Waldorf salad is called a Waldorf salad:
When was it created? The Waldorf salad, originally a simple apple-celery-mayo combo, was introduced on March 14, 1893, at a charity ball honoring St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. Its debut coincided with that of the Waldorf hotel, which opened the previous day. The charity ball was the very first event held at the hotel.
Who created it? The salad was part of a menu created by Edouard Beauchamp, the Waldorf’s original executive chef, and Oscar Tschirky, its maitre d’hotel. Tschirky, eventually nicknamed Oscar of the Waldorf, is reputed to have been the salad’s creator. It appeared in a cookbook he published just three years later, The Cook Book, by ‘Oscar’ of the Waldorf.
Why it caught on? The salad’s simplicity may have spelled its success. Yet shortly after its introduction, people began to elaborate on Tschirky’s original three ingredients, adding chopped walnuts, and sometimes other items, like oranges and marshmallows, the Times notes.
The Waldorf salad served at the hotel nowadays — some 20,000 of them a year — includes “julienned Granny Smith and Fuji apples, halved red and green grapes, and candied walnuts,” according to the Times, which adds that the humble mayo of yore has morphed into “an emulsified mixture of Dijon mustard, olive oil, Champagne vinegar, egg yolk and white truffle oil.”
How do you make it again? There are many iterations. This Waldorf Salad recipe includes non-fat yogurt and golden raisins. This one lays out the basics and then suggests interesting garnishes, including orange segments, berries, kiwi and small vegetable flowers.
This one incorporates cranberries, pecans, sour cream and chives.
And you don’t even have to call down for room service!