Saturday, April 2, 2011

You're the Top! You're a Waldorf Salad

Neil and I were out this morning.  He went to the market while I went shopping in the neighborhood.  He had these round red balls when he returned that he placed in a shiny bowl.  I just watched as he got out the knife and started cutting them.  He gave me a piece, but I didn't think it smelled very good.

The Original Hotel Waldorf
on Fifth Avenue
in New York City
      By 1934, when the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes opened on Broadway, the Waldorf salad was popular enough that it was included in the lyrics of his hit “You're the Top”.  That was 40 years after the salad was first introduced at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.  Oscar Tschirky was the maitre d' and credited with creating the salad for a private party on the pre-opening of the Waldorf Hotel on March 13, 1893.  At that point it was a simple concoction of apples, celery, and mayonnaise.  Over the years there have been many interpretations with the most popular now including grapes, raisins, and nuts.  Your neighborhood deli probably includes a version also made with chicken.  

      In addition to song lyrics, Waldorf salad has been the title for a 1979 episode of Fawlty Towers, served by June Cleaver as part of a special dinner in Leave it to Beaver, frequently consumed by characters in Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho, and part of a sight gag covering Albert Brooks in the film The Muse.

      For a more modern take on this iconic salad, try my version.  It's easy, yet lighter and more flavorful than the original.  It's also gluten free and sugar free.  Of course, if you're into tradition, I've also included Oscar Tschirky's recipe.


Peel two raw apples and cut them into small pieces, say about half an inch square, also cut some celery the same 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.

Neil's Gluten Free, Sugar Free Waldorf Salad


    1 cup sour cream
    1/2 Tbsp. agave sweetener
    2 large apples diced 
    1 cup seedless grapes (sliced if too large)
    1/2 cup pecans (or your favorite nut)
    1/2 cup golden raisins

Stir sour cream and agave sweetener together.  You may need to add a little more sweetener to your taste.  Combine apples, grapes, nuts, and raisins with the sour cream mixture.  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

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