A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 12, 2004
Waldorf Salad
You're the top! You're a Waldorf salad.
You're the top! You're a Berlin ballad.
You're a baby grand of a lady and a gent.
You're an old dutch master, You're Mrs. Astor,
You're Pepsodent.
--Cole Porter, "You're the Top" from the musical Anything Goes (1934)

The Waldorf Salad comes from the Waldorf Hotel (now the Waldorf-Astoria). It was then (1890s) located where the Empire State Building is today. I found some early citations.

"Apple Salad" and some other variations are in Good Housekeeping, 26 October 1889, pg. 306, col. 1.

Wikipedia: Waldorf salad
A Waldorf salad is a salad traditionally made of fresh apples, celery and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal.

The salad was first created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (the precursor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which came into being with the merger of the Waldorf with the adjacent Astoria Hotel, opened in 1897).

Oscar Tschirky, who was the Waldorf's maître d'hôtel and developed or inspired many of its signature dishes, is widely credited with creating the recipe. In 1896, Waldorf Salad appeared in The Cook Book by "Oscar of the Waldorf"; the original recipe did not contain nuts, but they had been added by the time the recipe appeared in The Rector Cook Book in 1928. The salad became popular enough that Cole Porter featured it in his 1934 song "You're the Top".

January 1895, Table Talk, pg. 6, col. 2:
Inquiry No. 3069.
F. R. L., Watertown, N. Y., writes: "Can you give me a recipe for salad containing apples and celery?"
This salad is a very simple one, and has become so popular merely through its name and use at the Waldorf in New York. It is composed of equal quantities of celery and chopped, raw, sour apples, dressed with mayonnaise dressing. At that hotel it is seldom served as a course, being preferred with game, and is in reality what is called a game salad. It is a favorite custom, more often adopted at "stag dinners" than elsewhere, to serve the salad with the game instead of as a separate course.

4 June 1895, The State (Columbia, SC), "Household Department," pg. 5, col. 1:
Waldorf Salad. -- (Contributed by Mrs. Dr. Dunn.) -- Apples and celery, equal quantities; Mayonnaise dressing. Cut apples in small pieces and also the celery; mix with dressing immediately or the apples will get dark. Mayonnaise dressing. -- Beat yolks of three eggs until very light, in a large bowl; then drop very slowly olive oil, one drop at a time, stirring until enough oil has been poured in to make the mixture very stiff. Season with a little salt, red pepper and lemon juice. THe slow dropping of the oil and much stirring are the most essential things in this dressing; oil must be cold.

January 1896, Table Talk, pg. 12, col. 1:
Inquiry No. 3547.
A. M. B. of Leadville, Col. writes: "I would be grateful if you will give me the recipe once more for Waldorf salad, as I cannot find my copy of Table Talk containing it, and we all thought it very nice indeed."
This salad is composed of equal parts of celery and chopped, raw, sour apples, dressed with the mayonnaise dressing. At the hotel which gives it its name it is seldom served as a course, being preferred with game and is, in reality, what is called a game salad. This custom of serving salad with game is more often adopted for "stag dinners" than elsewhere.

"Waldorf Salad" is also in The Chicago Record Cook Book (1896), pg. 503.

17 April 1897, The Times-Democrat (Lima, OH), "Eastertide," pg. 8, col. 4:
The delicious "Waldorf salad" is made with one cup of tart apples cut fine, one cup nuts, filberts, hicory nuts or English walnuts, season well with salt and cover with the following dressing: One cup vinegar, one-half cup sugar, boil five minutes, cool a little and add the well beaten yolks of six eggs mixed with one tablespoon of flour and one-half tablespoon of mustard; stir well and cook again, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from fire and beat until cold and smooth, then add very slowly three tablespoons of best olive oil and one cup of sour cream, whip all together thoroughly.

29 November 1900, Muskegon (MI) Weekly Chronicle, "Ladies of This City Prepare Menus for the Chronicle," pg. 1, col. 2:
"For Waldorf salad I always use one half celery and one half apple with a few nut meats and Malaga grapes out in half added, pouring over a cream dressing."

Chronicling America
21 September 1901, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), pg. 19, col. 3:
Waldorf Salad.
This is one of the most popular salads. It is really intended as an accompaniment to the game served at a gentleman's dinner, but is nice for any dinner when poultry is served. The real Waldorf salad is made as follows: Pare and core two large, tart apples and cut into dice half an inch square; cut up an equal quantity of blanched, crisp celery and mix with the apples; add a little salt; sprinkle lightly with French dressing and then mix with mayonnaise. Do not let stand, but serve at once in cups formed of crisp lettuce leaves. Chopped English walnuts may be added to this salad, or make a salad of equal quantities of orange dice, nuts and celery and serve in the same way.

March-April 1903, Boston Cooking School Magazine, pg. 375, col.
Waldorf Salad (Oscar of The Waldorf)
"Peel two raw apples and cut them into small pieces, say about half an inch square, also cut some celery the same (pg. 376, col. 1--ed.) way, and mix it with the apple. Be very careful not to let any seeds of the apples be mixed with it. The salad must be dressed with a good mayonnaise."

This is the original recipe. The raisins of which you speak are an innovation. To use them, cut in halves and remove the seeds. Then mix with the apple and celery and, afterwards, with the mayonnaise. English walnuts or pecan nuts, broken in pieces, are often added to the apple and celery. The proportions of the different ingredients are a matter of taste. Half and half of the leading ingredients, with enough dressing to moisten thoroughly, answers nicely.

From the very hefty and important International Cook Book (1906) by Alexander Filippini, pg. 536:
Cut into julienne strips one good-sized pickled beetroot, two medium, sound peeled and cored apples, two very tender well-cleaned stalks white celery, four Spanish sweet peppers, and place all in a bowl. Crack and carefully pick out the perfect meats from thirty-six sound hazel nuts, cut each one in quarters and place with the rest, toss them well in bowl, season with four tablespoons dressing, mix well, wipe the bowl all around and serve.

Walnuts are in 365 Vegetable Dishes (Philadelphia, 1910), pg. 16:
Waldorf Salad.
Cut equal quantities of russet apples and celery into dice. Halve and peel a similar quantity of walnuts, soak them in fresh water for one-fourth hour, drain them, and add them to the salad, mixing them well with mayonnaise dressing.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, July 12, 2004 • Permalink