When SALAD Lost Its Roots


The modern word salad goes back to the Latin salata, “salted.” A popular dish in ancient Rome was herba salata, salted vegetables.

Although salata‘s root is sal (salt), salad eventually came to refer to the leaves alone, and the seasoning for it assumed the name (salad) dressing.  Many food writers say that salad dressing is a sauce… which seems perfectly fine, but still I want to know why it wasn’t called salad sauce.  My theory is that the word dressing is applied to salad in the sense of finishing, decorating, serving… something to that effect.

Salad dressings have come a long way from the time of the Romans, whose go-to seasoning for raw leaves was brine (water-salt solutions).  They eventually began to serve their mixed greens with separate containers for vinegar and oil, a practice that continues to this day.  I like to tell friends (in serious…

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