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Aug 17, 2008 04:52 PM

The Lettuce Wedge [moved from New Orleans]

Can anyone offer any insight to the source of the lettuce wedge? I am talking about the wedge of iceberg lettuce with bleu cheese drizzled over it. I am inclined to say it comes from Ruth's Chris but since they stole virtually everything else from some other New Orleans establishment, I feel I may be wrong.

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  1. Charlie's always had could get it virtually anywhere, it seems to me. Ed Jansen, of Ye Olde Pipe Shop on Chartres, had one every day at lunch in the Quarter. I may be wrong but I have never thought of it as a New Orleans item..I've seen it in New York, Boston, Chicago...have no idea where it originated.

    1. I think where it originated is long lost, but it was very popular when my parents took me to restaurants back in the 1960s...and according to the Food Timeline, back in the 1950s as well.

      1. Can't answer the original question, but my earliest memory of a lettuce wedge salad was from my childhood in the 50s, back in western PA. Only the dressing wasn't bleu cheese, it was Russian. That and the Waldorf Salad my mother made remain my favorites to this day.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Deenso

          and the russian dressing was made with ketchup and miracle whip......

          1. re: jeanmarieok

            with a bit of pickle relish mixed in. ;-)

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Both of you are right. My mom used to make it with exactly those ingredients. Only difference is that I make it with Hellmann's, rather than Miracle Whip.

              1. re: Deenso

                Both the Hellman's and Miracle Whip are perfect 1950's ingredients...I'll have to try that (we always made 'real' mayonnaise--well,it was the blender variety) Despite the railings of a food writer a year or so ago, some of the 50's stuff is re-assuring. He thought the appearance of comfort food signalled backsliding in the American Advance on the eating front. All I know if that if I make a noodle/beef/onion soup mix/can of mushroom soup casserole for a tailgate party, it's flat gone in twenty minutes.

                Another friend likes to serve those canned peaches with either mayo or cottage cheese on them. Makes you feel like sitting down to watch "Howdy Doody" or the like.

              2. re: LindaWhit

                I always thought that adding relish to Russian dressing turned it into Thousand Island dressing (another 50's flashback)...

                1. re: Striver

                  Whoops - I think you're right. And then we always put chili sauce and/or horseradish in for Russian dressing.

          2. It's been a steak-house standby for so long that nailing its history would probably require some serious scholarship. My first encounter was at O'Charley's in Nashville, but they copied it from an older local steakhouse who got it from somewhere else... It's like trying to figure out where the cheeseburger came from. BTW, the dressing at O'Charley's was Thousand Island, as I recall. If they're still in existence, I'm sure it still is...