Today’s lesson does not involve pilgrims or Native Americans as one might expect, but rather the history of the delicious side dish common to Thanksgiving gatherings known as Waldorf salad. It was first created in the 1890s at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. The man who is supposedly responsible, Oscar Tschirky, has a singularly awesome name and was the Waldorf’s maître d’hôtel.
This seemingly random combination of ingredients plays together quite nicely in the mouth–crisp, juicy apples, crunchy nuts and celery, and sweet, chewy raisins, all slathered in a slightly tangy, creamy sauce. Your version may differ from mine. A variation known as an Emerald Salad replaces celery with cauliflower (DEFINITELY not for me) and there’s a recipe known as Peadorf salad that adds peanuts.
Regardless of the specific ingredients you use, the Waldorf salad is tasty and comes together quickly. It keeps well and is easy to make for a crowd. If it’s too late to make for your Thanksgiving extravaganza, keep it in mind for Christmas or, heck, for lunch next Tuesday.