Cobb salad consists of layers of salad greens, avocado, chopped boiled egg, chopped cooked chicken (or turkey), tomatoes, cooked bacon, and watercress, garnished with crumbled blue cheese and a vinaigrette.
Disney World in Florida serves the salad in a replica of the restaurant where it was created (see History below.)
Cobb Salad originally included avocado, bacon celery, chicken chives, eggs (hard-boiled), Roquefort cheese, tomato and watercress.
It was reputedly created by Robert H. Cobb at the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, California, when he made it for himself one night out of leftovers in the restaurant fridge. The Brown Derby restaurant says this was in 1936, but some sources speculate the date might have been as early as 1929.
Some say it was actually a cook named Robert Kreis who made it up for Robert.
In any event, Robert mentioned the salad to a Sid Grauman (builder of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard), whom he then made it for. Grauman loved it.
Awareness of Cobb Salad didn’t start hitting the national consciousness in America until about 1961, when Bob Thomas (Associated Press’s Movie TV Writer) mentioned it in his column in time for the Labour Day weekend. It was carried even in small town newspapers in states such as Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin, appearing in some of them on the 31st August, in others on the 1st of September.
Literature & Lore
“The Brown Derby’s special is the Cobb salad, named after bossman Bob Cobb. It’s great for people too tired to chew, because it’s all chopped fine as confetti.
Here are the items that go on the chopping block: 1/2 head lettuce, 1/2 bunch watercress, small bunch chickory (sic), 1/2 head romaine, two medium peeled tomatoes, two boiled breasts of chicken, six strips crisp bacon, an avocado, three hard-boiled eggs, two tablespoons chive, 1/2 cup grated Roquefort cheese.
Put it all together with an old-fashioned French dressing and you’ve got a fabulous salad for four.”
— Bob Thomas. Californian Boasts: Coast Is Salad King. In Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. Thursday, 31 August 31 1961. Page 2.