Caesar salad is named for Julius Caesar.
Don’t Believe That!
The Caesar salad became connected to the famous Roman dictator apparently due only to the name similarity (quick – name another famous “Caesar”). The popular salad was named after a Caesar, all right – but one who was much lesser known.
Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, operated a Tijuana restaurant in the 1920s. Business was booming, with many Americans avoiding prohibition restrictions by crossing the border to drink. As the story goes, Caesar was running out of food during one particularly busy July evening. He concocted a salad on the fly using whatever ingredients he had on hand: romaine lettuce, eggs, parmesan cheese, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, black pepper and croutons. The salad was a big hit with diners, and soon became the restaurant’s biggest draw.
Caesar’s brother Alex added anchovies to the recipe and opened a chain of restaurants in Mexico featuring his version of the Caesar salad. The recipe soon spread to Europe and was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1930s.
Many restaurants had difficulties getting the dressing exactly right. This prompted Caesar and his daughter Rosa to begin selling bottled Caesar salad dressing in 1948. Caesar Cardini Foods today produces more than a dozen varieties of bottled dressing.