Hail to the Caesar Salad

Hail to the Caesar Salad!! Adapted from Jeffrey C. Pommerville Alcamo’s Fundamentals of Microbiology, Eighth Edition.

For history buffs, the first Caesar salad is reported to have evolved on July 4, 1924, in the mind of Caesar Cardini, the proprietor of a restaurant (Caesar’s Restaurant) in Tijuana, Mexico. Cardini was desparate for a fill-in during a paraticular busy day, so he threw together some Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, lemon, garlic oil and raw eggs. ‘’

“Over the years the reputations of the salad and its inventor grew. The highlight of the preparation of the salad was at table side. However, a problem had existed for years – the raw eggs. They are used for adding creaminess to the dressing. Raw eggs had contributed to many sauces, e.g. Hollandaise Sauce without a problem and eating raw eggs had been considered to contribute protein to muscle bound young men. However, the problem became serious when eggs were omitted from the recipes due to reports of Salmonella infections that were traced to them and nothing else contributed to that wonderful quality of creaminess.”

The problem became a debate among Caesar salad connoisseurs – many felt that a Caesar salad is not really truly up to par unless the raw egg was present.

Now we have the choice of using pasteurized raw eggs that involves heating eggs in hot water or a microwave oven, then maintaining them at 134 degrees F in a hot air oven for one hour. This procedure has been shown to disable the Salmonella. Better yet is to use commercially produced pasteurized eggs, however, they are often hard to find and should be found in those eggs that meet the standards for egg pasteurization by the FDA. Until then you cannot find it safe to test the cookie dough, have eggs over easy or enjoy Caesar Salad the way it was meant to be.”

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