North Star serves salad flavored with antiquity

Students are getting a taste of New York history at North Star dining hall.

Sophia LaLonde

Among the dressings at the Field of Greens salad bar in North Star is a Thousand Island dressing – New York’s original Thousand Island dressing – created by Sophia LaLonde nearly a century ago. This zesty sauce is offered to students thanks to Murray LaLonde, senior operations manager at North Star, Sophia’s great-great-grandson.

George LaLonde Jr., Murray’s great-great grandfather, guided fishermen for black bass and northern pike in Clayton, New York. Meanwhile, Sophia served up glorious shore dinners from the day’s catch. To dress the salads, Sophia created a mayonnaise concoction.

When stage actress May Irwin dined there one summer, she tasted it, loved it and dubbed it “Thousand Island” dressing. Sophia gave her the recipe. Returning to New York City, Irwin gave the recipe to George C. Boldt – owner of the Waldorf Astoria and a noted Cornell trustee, who added the dressing to the Waldorf’s menu.

On Dec. 13, 1932, Cornell dedicated Boldt residence hall on West Campus in honor of George Boldt. He and famed maître d’ Oscar Tschirky are credited with popularizing Thousand Island dressing and the Waldorf salad.

But it was created by Sophia LaLonde, and in recent years it has been served at the sesquicentennial dinner and at President Elizabeth Garrett’s inaugural festivities and trustee dinners.

- Blaine Friedlander