How Did the Caesar Salad Get Its Name?
The salad’s creation is generally attributed to Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. Cardini was living in San Diego but he was also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition.
The exact story is disputed, but the general consensus is that over Fourth of July weekend, Cardini threw together a bunch of ingredients he had on hand and served his concoction to his friends. Needless to say, the improvised dish caught on.
What’s Cooking America says the original recipe included “romaine, garlic, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.” Supposedly Cardini’s brother, Alex, came to Tijuana in 1926 and added anchovies to the salad. He called his version the “Aviator’s salad.” What’s Cooking America says that this version was so well-received that it became the standard and was renamed the “Caesar salad.”
Like most origin stories, this one is difficult to prove. The incredible combination of ingredients that goes into a Caesar salad may have come together in different variations, in Tijuana or elsewhere. Regardless, the dish grew famous in Tijuana. In 1953, the International Society of Epicure declared the classic salad, which by then was popular in Europe, “the greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in 50 years.”