This is a rather odd story that involves Caesar salad and Wallis Simpson, let me explain….
As a result of Mrs. Simpson’s extensive world travels, Caesar Salad was introduced to many of the great European restaurants by her instructing international chefs as they struggled to recreate the dressing to satisfy the soon-to-be-Duchess of Windsor’s discerning palate. She insisted that it included romaine, garlic, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. The salad was then prepared at tableside, and when the the salad dressing was ready, the romaine leaves were coated with the dressing and placed stem side out, in a circle and served on a flat dinner plate, so that the salad could be eaten with the fingers.
But there is more to this than just Caesar salads. The allure of Wallis Simpson to the future Edward VIII was not at all obvious. She was not young, certainly would not be described as beautiful, possessing a square jaw with a large mole. According to observers of the time she spoke with a strong raspy American accent…VERY LOUDLY.
The biographer James Pope-Hennessy, who met her in 1958, commented in his journal that Wallis was ‘one of the very oddest women I have ever seen’.
‘She is, to look at, phenomenal,’ he added. ‘She is flat and angular and could have been designed for a medieval playing card. I should be tempted to classify her as an American woman par excellence were it not for the suspicion that she is not a woman at all.’
Hmm, curiouser and curiouser. So how an earth did this non-descript woman manage to ensnare the most eligible bachelor in the world?
Apparently Wallis Simpson was extremely well versed in the arts of ” lurve” She had, according to one contemporary, ‘the ability to make a matchstick feel like a cigar’.
Charles Higham, in his book Mrs Simpson (1988), went into greater detail. During her time in China with her first husband she learned an ancient Chinese skill which involved ‘a prolonged and carefully modulated hot oil massage’ and various arts to delay gratification.
Among the techniques she become adept with included the wonderfully sounding Shanghai squeeze or China clinch.