We get Letters – v. 7 : History of the Cobb Salad

Again, this was a comment, not a “letter”. In the comments of my post regarding the history of the Caesar Salad, Monica asks a question:

Hey, what an interesting story about the Caesar salad..it reminds me of the episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” when Larry gets in a fight with someone who claims to be related to the inventor of the Cobb salad..any word on its origins?

Of course there are Monica!

Back in the day, there was this little restaurant in Los Angeles known as “The Brown Derby“. It was a somewhat popular restaurant, so much so that 3 other Brown Derby locations opened in the L.A. area, one of them on Hollywood and Vine. It is this location of the Derby which has cemented itself into Hollywood lore.

The owner of the Derby was one Robert Cobb, who others refer to as Bob Cobb,( a name which rolls off the tongue quite nicely). Much like the Caesar Salad, the Cobb was created on a whim.

Cobb lived at the restaurant, putting in many, many hours. When one lives and breathes at one particular restaurant, one gets bored quickly of the dishes found on the menu. So Bob improvised his meals based off whatever he could find being cooked on the line, or stored in the icebox. One day, he improvised a Salad made from head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing.Also added was some crisp bacon swiped from a busy chef.

It apparently became a somewhat regular dish with Mr. Cobb, so much so, that he mentioned it once to Sid Grauman, of Grauman’s Chinese Theater (the theater where celebrities are memorialized with their footprints and handprints in the courtyard’s cement).

Grauman, undoubtedly curious, on his next trip to the Derby, asked for one of “Cobb’s salad”. Voila! A legend was born.

Of course, there’s an alternate story where that it was the Executive Chef of the Brown Derby Restaurant, Robert Kreis, who actually developed the Cobb Salad in honor of Bob Cobb, but that doesn’t make a such a good anecdote.

Hope that answers your question Monica!


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