So called, because it was first presented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The original recipe of apple, celery and walnuts on a bed of lettuce seems to have had plenty of variants over the years. Years ago, I ordered a sandwich with Waldorf salad and what arrived was basically coleslaw with added raisins in a runny mayonnaise. When I complained about the lack of walnuts, I was told that they could not serve a salad with nuts in, because of the risk of allergies! I pointed out that surely, someone ordering a Waldorf salad would expect a salad with walnuts and what they served in no way resembled what I expected of a Waldorf salad, so I refused to eat or pay for it. The server just shrugged. It was a catering firm and this was what their supplier sent them, described as Waldorf salad, what were they supposed to do? I didn't go back to eat there again, but don't expect they acted on my suggestion to sack their supplier, employ a chef and make their own food from scratch.
So, is it still a Waldorf if it doesn't contain celery? A friend took a little diversion to see me on her way back from a week away visiting various family members, and stopped for a light supper of herb and cheese omelet and salad (and with a gift of chocolate profiteroles on a bed of chocolate mousse for pudding. Oh my!). She doesn't like celery, so I didn't put any in. I like shredded white cabbage in mine too. But it must have walnuts and apple!
We chatted for hours, drinking, eating and generally catching up with the latest news. It was such a pleasure to cook for her, especially since the alternative might have been for her to try to get something at a motorway services. No problem if you like burgers from a well-known chain, but if you're after real food on a Sunday evening, you're probably out of luck!