Caesar Salad and Cobb Salad

Emily debates whether to order Caesar salad or Cobb salad for lunch at Luke’s diner.

A classic Caesar salad [pictured] consists of whole leaves of romaine lettuce and croutons, dressed with lime juice, olive oil, coddled eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Its creation is attributed to Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who had restaurants in Mexico and the US. He is said to have invented the salad in 1924 at his restaurant Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico, when a busy Fourth of July left his kitchen depleted. He used what ingredients he had on hand, adding flair by tossing the salad at the table. In 1946, the salad was introduced to New York by Gilmore’s (!) Steak House, who added anchovies into the mix. Although Cardini disapproved, anchovies are now usually added. Lemon juice is also typically substituted for the lime juice.

Cobb salad is a classic American garden salad usually made from chopped salad greens, tomato, crisp bacon, fried chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, blue cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. The ingredients aren’t mixed together, but laid on the plate in neat rows. There are various stories as to how it was created, one being that it was invented in 1938 by Robert Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, where it became a signature dish. The legend goes that Cobb hadn’t managed to eat until nearly midnight, and made the salad out of leftovers he found in the kitchen.

Coddled eggs are eggs that have been gently poached in a ramekin in a bain-marie, cooked just below boiling point. There is a risk of salmonella from eating them unless you are careful, hence Emily’s concern about ordering the Caesar salad. In the end, she orders the Cobb salad, where the eggs are hard boiled instead.

Note that Emily’s worry about the coddled eggs is basically the same conversation that Lorelai had with Sookie about mussels when they went out to dinner on their double date with Jackson and Rune. In both cases, Lorelai pleads with them to choose something else from the menu, in almost the same words.

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