While looking for a completely different recipe I came across something called green goddess dressing, I guessed it might owe part of its name to its colour, and I was right – chopped fresh herbs are added to the other ingredients which include mayonnaise, lemon juice and anchovies – yes anchovies. Since I like anchovies it sounded rather nice and I explored a little more to find out its origin and history.
Apparently it’s nearly a hundred years old, and I discovered that it ha d been created by the chef of a hotel in San Francisco as a tribute to an actor in a play which was called, predictably ‘The Green Goddess’. The chef was Philip Roemer, and i can’t find out very much about him except he was the chef at the Palace Hotel. The original Palace Hotel dated fro about 1875, I think but was a victim of the 1906 earthquake which devastated San Francisco. The new hotel was built on the same site in about 1909 and Roemer was chef there for many years.
The actor which caused such admiration was George Arliss who was born in 1868 in London, the son of a publisher. He was a famous actor, on stage and in film, was a play-write and film maker and was very successful in both Britain and the USA. The play, The Green Goddess was written by William Archer, and was performed from 1921, later became a film – a silent film and a talkie, and in 1939 was revived on the stage by Orson Welles
There seems so many variations, and I guess you could actually use whatever herbs you like, for example tarragon, basil, parsley and also chives or even avocado to give it its green colour, plus mayonnaise – sour cream in some recipes, lemon juice, and of course, anchovies! As no-one else in the family likes salad or anchovies, I think I’m on my own with this one!
There are other green goddesses, including:
- a British railway locomotive on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
- “Green Goddess”, a cruise ship of the Cunard Line (actually the RMS Caronia ) with a distinctive green livery
- Diana Moran – a TV exercise and fitness instructor and model
- trams in Liverpool (and latterly Glasgow) UK
- and maybe most famously over here – Green Goddesses were teh nick name for the Bedford RLHZ Self Propelled Pump, a fire engine used originally by the Auxiliary Fire Service , but famously used during the firefightrers industrial action in 1977 and 2002