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A salad, as defined by The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, is "A dish of leafy green vegetables dressed with various seasonings, sauces, and other vegetables or fruits." That definition hardly suffices to describe a dish of such innumerable variations, especially today when a salad is likely to contain nothing green and leafy.

The salad has been around since ancient times, named for the Latin for salt (sal), with which the greens were seasoned before Good Seasons. As an American food, salads were relatively unimportant until the back to nature movement of the nineteen sixties. This was a meat and potatoes nation well through the T-bone-on-the-grill fifties.

The American salad in the first half of the twentieth century usually meant iceberg lettuce and, when summer vegetables were not available, often included fruit such as apples, raisins, and oranges. Dressings were either oil and vinegar (served in two cruets on a checkered tablecloth) or mayonnaise and/or sour cream based, including Thousand Island and French.