business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

You can add this to the list of stuff I didn’t know.

The New York Times has a long story about ranch dressing, which it calls “the one true American dressing.” Ranch dressing, the story notes, was invented in 1950 by Steve Henson, described as “a plumber from the tiny village of Thayer, Neb.,” who was working in construction and as an occasional cook up in Alaska, and who invented it largely because the ingredients happen to be on hand. A few years later, he moved to California with his wife, and began making it on his ranch, which he dubbed Hidden Ranch.

What I didn’t know until I read the Times story is that ranch is “far and away the most popular salad dressing in the country,” with 40 percent of Americans saying it was their favorite. In second place was Italian dressing, preferred of just 10 percent of Americans.

(The study was by the Association for Dressings and Sauces, an industry group that I remember fondly because they hired me early in my speaking career to travel to Vancouver for their annual conference. One of the things that I remember best from the conference was that there were a couple of hundred people attending, and at one point they brought some fellow in to teach everyone how to make omelettes … and we did so at dozens of cooking stations installed in a ballroom. I think about them every time I make an omelette. But I digress…)

Here’s something else I didn’t know: Ranch, the Times writes, “has spread far beyond salad. It is a routine dip for chicken wings, baby carrots, French fries, tortilla chips and mozzarella sticks. It is incorporated into American classics like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, potato salad and Thanksgiving-turkey stuffing. And it is drizzled over tacos, Tater Tots, casseroles and — perhaps most controversially — pizza.”

Pizza? Really? Now that’s an Eye-Opener.

Apparently so … and the Times notes that “in March, a successful pop-up restaurant in Portland, Ore., called Ranch, became a permanent restaurant entirely dedicated to pizza with ranch.” I spend a lot of time in Portland, but haven’t been there. Yet.

However, the Times quotes a Brooklyn, New York, pizza expert who seems to be a little skeptical.

“This is what happens when you legalize cannabis,” he says.

Funny line. Wish I’d written it.
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