The World’s Most Expensive Salad


My sketch today: Tomatoes!

Heinz Tomato Ketchup : 57 varieties. Not really.

While riding in an elevated train in New York, H.J.Heinz was struck by a shoe shop sign declaring that it offered ’21 styles’. He was thus inspired to come up with the slogan ’57 varieties’ for his own company – even though at that stage it was already selling many more lines. Heinz picked the number 57 largely because he liked the sound of it, although he chose 7 because of the ‘psychological influence of that figure and in enduring significance to people of all ages’.


Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

Botanically, a tomato is a fruit, a berry, consisting of the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. However, the tomato has a much lower sugar content than other edible fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. Typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than at dessert, it is, in the USA, considered a “culinary vegetable”. One exception is that tomatoes are treated as a fruit in home canning practices: they are acidic enough to process in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as vegetables require. This has led to legal dispute in the United States.

In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruits, caused the tomato’s status to become a matter of legal importance. The U.S. Supreme Court settled this controversy on 10 May 1893, by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)). The holding of this case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff Act of 3 March 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes.

The World’s Most Expensive Salad

Raymond Blanc, chef of Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire, presnted the ‘Florette Sea and Earth Salad’ at a special event at the Hempel Hotel in London’s Bayswater. In order of cost per portion, the creation contained the following ingredients:

Potato 10p

Red romano peppers 50p

Moulin Jean Marie Cornille olive oil 50p

Florette baby leaf salad 50p

Cornish crab £2

30-year-old balsamic vinegar £3

Cornish lobster £5

Kreel-caught langoustines £5

Truffle £5

Gold leaf £5

Beluga caviar £9

Almas golden caviar £600 (for 50 grams)

The truffles and caviar were presented in a basket handmade from courgettes, red peppers and potatoes, and decorated with gold leaf, and the total cost per serving was £635.60. Almas golden caviar was once reserved for the tsars of Russia, and sells at £12,000 per kilo.

Source: A curious history of Food and Drink by Ian Crofton , Wikipedia.


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