In this week’s New Yorker

January 28, 2012

My favorite thing about this week’s New Yorker was learning, from “The Missionary,” Dana Goodyear’s article about Mexican chef Javier Plascencia, above), the origin of Caesar salad:

“Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur with places in Sacramento and San Diego, moved his operation to Tijuana in the early nineteen-twenties. He opened Caesar’s, a bistro with a long wooden bar and a black-and-white checkered floor, on Avenida Revolucion — once known as the most visited street in the world — where American couples went for margaritas, sombreros, and a quickie divorce.

“The first successful culinary export from Tijuana was the Caesar salad: hearts of romaine tossed tableside with coddled egg, oil, Parmesan, lemon, and crushed garlic, and designed to be eaten with the fingers, like asparagus. According to Julia Child, one of her first restaurant memories was of visiting Caesar’s with her parents around 1925. ‘My parents, of course, ordered the salad,’ she wrote. ‘Caesar himself rolled the big cart up to the table, tossed the romaine in a great wooden bowl.’ She went on, ‘It was a sensation of a salad from coast to coast, and there were even rumblings of its success in Europe….Before then, too, salads were considered rather exotic, definitely foreign, probably Bolshevist, and, anyway, food only for sissies.’ In 1953, a French epicurean society declared the Caesar ‘the greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in fifty years.’ “

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