Caesar salad might be the Kim Kardashian of salads. This is a theory I have, and it sprung from a few conversations about Kim Kardashians's empire of influence following a recent GQ article hell-bent on introducing the world to Kim K, CEO.
I was discussing this article with Ariel and during our conversations words like ubiquitous, harmless, and average kept coming up. We talked about the endurance of popularity, cultural phenomenons, and spikes in trends and I realized that we could have easily been discussing Caesar salad.
A Theory Takes Shape
Is it really so hard to believe that one of the most universally popular items on a restaurant menu — an item you can get anywhere from McDonald's to Olive Garden to Cipriani's would share commonalities with one of the more recognizable celebrities today? It shouldn't be. At least not when you consider that both Kim K and Caesar salad's sphere of influence is predicated on their ability to be everywhere. Replicable and consumable in varying stages of quality, many of the attributes I associate with Caesar salad very easily translate to qualities we're presented with in Kim K.
Caesar Salad, Kim K, and the Value of Being Everywhere
If someone tells me they've never heard of Kim Kardashian, I'm giving them the side-eye. I don't buy it. Even if you don't buy into her — her brand, or her cult of influence — there's a strong chance you know who she is. She's been successful at being everywhere and much discussed for the last 10 years. She's had spikes and dips, but for the most part, her celebrity endures. The same can be said for Caesar salad.
Much like Kim K, regardless of its fuzzy beginnings, this salad's popularity endures. With a balance of all the flavors that make a dish desirable — fatty, rich, salty, sour, crunchy, and light — why wouldn't it? Because there are so few ingredients in a Caesar salad, it's relatively easy to make and scale in quality, and it's equally as easy to replicate and ruin. When you're at the drive-thru and order a Caesar salad, your expectations should take into consideration the presence of a packet of dressing and a clamshell container. Dining with white tablecloths and ordering the house Caesar? There might be kale.
If you've ever watched an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, you'll recognize the formatted structure of the those 22 minutes, how few plot lines — or ingredients — are required. That's how a benign reality television show about pretty much nothing becomes a replicable model with numerous offshoots. Scaling is easy when the formula is simple.
This ability to be everywhere and consumed by anyone functions like a built-in PR campaign for both Caesar salad and the Kim K brand — it keeps both of them relevant without much effort. The accepted ubiquity of Caesar salad on menus means it has become an expectation, and it has to do very little to reinvent itself when we demand innovation. Simply take the template of Parmesan + creamy dressing + croutons and drape it over kale and it suddenly it becomes trendy and modern. Take Kim K and add a multimillion-dollar app and suddenly she's an entrepreneur.
I say all this with a sense of admiration. You've got to give credit to the creation of a formula so simple it's almost elegant. Regardless of whether you're a fan of either, neither, or both, you can't deny the fact that being able to be everywhere has its merits.