Waldorf Salad

waldorf salad

Puttin’ on the Ritz – at the Waldorf!

If you think of famous, fancy hotels in the “Golden Age” of the Twenties and Thirties (or what you’ve seen of them in films – or have been told of them), perhaps the most famous and most fancy of all, was the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

The Waldorf still ranks as a 5 Star Hotel – one I’ve often wished to patronize and never had the $$$ to do so (hey, a girl can only dream, right?). But as a kid growing up in Cleveland, my Mother and I would sometimes go downtown shopping at one of the big department stores – Higbee’s; Hallee’s – and stop in for lunch in one of their “tea rooms”, a lovely restaurant featuring lunches for ladies at “reasonable” prices. A mainstay of those “tea rooms” were fashion shows, where models would wander around, showing off the most current outfits, and describing them to us, and answering questions about sizes, fabric and of course, price!

I felt SO grown up! No “mac and cheese” or “Happy Meals” on these menus….no, but I did find the famous Waldorf Salad and fell in love with it. Mother, of course, was delighted that I ordered something healthy instead of other options. (She loved salads and almost always ordered one herself!)

Once as an adult, I had the strongest urge for a Waldorf salad at home and set out to throw one together (no recipe in mind…working from memory – just throw some chopped apple, nuts, celery together with some mayo and presto! Well, no celery in the house and no raisins…so what did I find? Mini chocolate chips! So in they went – and in they stayed!

Now, I often use yogurt (it’s about the only way I can force myself to eat yogurt, to be honest with you!) and find that I use the whole 6 ounce container which is more than I need because otherwise I’d just throw it away!  So try the recipe, or do as I do….just toss the principals together! You can add chunks of cooked chicken or turkey and make it a main course, too. Great in summer when you don’t feel like cooking!

The Original Waldorf Salad

  • 2 sweet apples, cored and diced (Red delicious, Gala, or your favorite type)
  • 3/4 c thinly sliced celery
  • 3/4 c walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise (home made is best)
  • 6 large iceberg lettuce leaves
  • few scrapings of fresh nutmeg, optional

Combine all ingredients except lettuce and nutmeg and toss lightly until everything is lightly coated with the mayonnaise. Set 2 lettuce leaves on each plate to form a cup. Place 1/3 of salad in cup of leaves and scrape a bit of nutmeg (if desired) on top of each.

Makes 3 servings

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