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When did Ranch dressing take over the world?


heidih
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I love ranch. Kraft, specifically. There, I said it. And I'm not ashamed! I like homemade better, but I don't like the decimating effect it has on my parsley and chive plants. And I generally find I like a much higher ratio of buttermilk/sour cream to mayo, or it tastes too mayonnaise-y, which I think masks the flavor of the herbs.

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If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Like Simon, I too had never heard of this mysterious "ranch dressing" until the pizza idiosyncrasies thread. I promptly looked up the wikipedia article and then quickly dismissed it as basically a mayonnaise-y sauce.

However, have to say that the following sounds rather nice:

For reference, Joy of Cooking's ingredients for Ranch Dressing are:

1 clove garlic

3/4 cup buttermilk

2-3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon minced cilantro or parsley

1 tablespoon minced chives

salt and pepper

Interestingly (to me), they list mayonnaise as an optional addition to make a "less runny" dressing.

Do you just crush the garlic to a fine paste and mix it all together? And are we talking cultured buttermilk (the yoghurt-like stuff) or proper buttermilk?

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Do you just crush the garlic to a fine paste and mix it all together? And are we talking cultured buttermilk (the yoghurt-like stuff) or proper buttermilk?

Yes, the Joy recipe quoted there has you mash the garlic with a bit of salt, then just combine everything. And here in the US the only buttermilk readily available is cultured (though I wouldn't describe it as "yoghurt-like"). Use what you think tastes good, of course.

Chris Hennes
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There really isn't anything wrong with Ranch dressing as an actual salad dressing. Dipping other foods in it?? Like pizza? I dunno. Of course, do like to have a little ranch dressing with my Buffalo wings, so I guess I am part of the problem? Another Hidden Valley Ranch product I like is the dip mix. The poweder you dump into sour cream and eat with potato chips. That's tasty, too.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Do you just crush the garlic to a fine paste and mix it all together? And are we talking cultured buttermilk (the yoghurt-like stuff) or proper buttermilk?

Yes, the Joy recipe quoted there has you mash the garlic with a bit of salt, then just combine everything. And here in the US the only buttermilk readily available is cultured (though I wouldn't describe it as "yoghurt-like"). Use what you think tastes good, of course.

I make the Joy recipe a few times a year: it does in fact taste like commercial ranch, but better because the flavors are cleaner and sharper since they weren't concocted in a lab and compounded in a factory by machines. You can also adjust the proportions to taste (natch). I puree the garlic with the back of my knife and a little salt, and if I want to thicken it I'll use sour cream not mayo. It makes for a great dressing for an American inflected composed salad. Green Goddess is also great, but I haven't made it in a few years.

nunc est bibendum...

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^^

Well I was thinking that actual buttermilk (liquid leftover from churning butter) would be rather thin for this. However, if you did use it the end result would be a bit like a riff on one of the world's greatest cooling drinks, popular in many incarnations all over India (especially the South): a few sample recipes. It wouild just be...er...garlic/chive-y!

Anyway, resisting the temptation to just drink the stuff, I may have a go with serving it on some steamed veggies. I'm not really a salad person if we are talking lettuce and leaf type salads, and anyway such things are not easy to get here. Plus who is eating raw leafy greens in monsoon?! But one some veggies over rice sounds pretty good.

ETA: By the way I wasn't going to add any mayo as I don't do eggs. Will the result still be good? Recipe does say it is optional...

Edited by Jenni (log)
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There really isn't anything wrong with Ranch dressing as an actual salad dressing. Dipping other foods in it?? Like pizza? I dunno. Of course, do like to have a little ranch dressing with my Buffalo wings, so I guess I am part of the problem? Another Hidden Valley Ranch product I like is the dip mix. The poweder you dump into sour cream and eat with potato chips. That's tasty, too.

I have to say I was blown away the first time I made caramelized onion dip off the top of my head (sour cream, lots of caramalized onions, pinch of herbes de provence, a little vinegar if necessary, s&p): it was pretty much a spittin' image of the powdered product (which I didn't buy because I couldn't find any!: I no longer seek it out). Absent some of the little grace notes like the herbs or vinegar, and the bits of onion in the dip, I really don't think you'd know it wasn't out of a packet. Same goes with the ranch dressing, except for the thick consistency (too thick for me). This is one of the marvels of modern science.

nunc est bibendum...

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^^

Well I was thinking that actual buttermilk (liquid leftover from churning butter) would be rather thin for this. However, if you did use it the end result would be a bit like a riff on one of the world's greatest cooling drinks, popular in many incarnations all over India (especially the South): a few sample recipes. It wouild just be...er...garlic/chive-y!

Anyway, resisting the temptation to just drink the stuff, I may have a go with serving it on some steamed veggies. I'm not really a salad person if we are talking lettuce and leaf type salads, and anyway such things are not easy to get here. Plus who is eating raw leafy greens in monsoon?! But one some veggies over rice sounds pretty good.

ETA: By the way I wasn't going to add any mayo as I don't do eggs. Will the result still be good? Recipe does say it is optional...

Make it but don't use mayo: use sour cream or creme fraiche or crema or the like to thicken it if you think its necessary. It is quite thin being no thicker than buttermilk. Depending on how I'm using it, I might thicken or not.

As for drinking it, I have been known to drink up what I didn't use: it is delicious.

nunc est bibendum...

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As for drinking it, I have been known to drink up what I didn't use: it is delicious.

Don't tempt me!

Another stupid idea. What with it being made of a cultured milk product and containing garlic, it's sort of reminding me of those delicious middle eastern sauces made of yoghurt and garlic that are stabilised (with egg or cornflour or whatever) and heated up to make a hot sauce. There's one in Madhur Jaffrey's 'Eastern Vegetarian' cookbook that goes over stuffed courgettes and is delicious. I'm thinking if you gently heated ranch dressing before adding the chopped herbs and lime juice and then add the herbs off the heat at the end (lime juice probably wouldn't be needed here) you would get a pretty damn delicious warm sauce. Sacrilege? Insanity? I may try it anyway.

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As for drinking it, I have been known to drink up what I didn't use: it is delicious.

Don't tempt me!

Another stupid idea. What with it being made of a cultured milk product and containing garlic, it's sort of reminding me of those delicious middle eastern sauces made of yoghurt and garlic that are stabilised (with egg or cornflour or whatever) and heated up to make a hot sauce. There's one in Madhur Jaffrey's 'Eastern Vegetarian' cookbook that goes over stuffed courgettes and is delicious. I'm thinking if you gently heated ranch dressing before adding the chopped herbs and lime juice and then add the herbs off the heat at the end (lime juice probably wouldn't be needed here) you would get a pretty damn delicious warm sauce. Sacrilege? Insanity? I may try it anyway.

Sounds like a great idea to me, but I don't believe in sacrilege. You could hit is with the lime at the end if you thought it was necessary. I'm very interested to know how that experiment turns out. This thread has me thinking I need to make some ranch sometime very soon...

nunc est bibendum...

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This thread has reminded me how good we all thought Ranch Dressing was when we first encountered it, freshly made, with buttermilk.

Honestly, I had forgotten.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Now I'm afraid. I was browsing some various cocktail-related stuff and came across a reference to a place that serves a "Ranch Bomb". Yep, you sink a container of ranch dressing into a lager and drink up... just reading about that one made me feel a little sick. :hmmm:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Now I'm afraid. I was browsing some various cocktail-related stuff and came across a reference to a place that serves a "Ranch Bomb". Yep, you sink a container of ranch dressing into a lager and drink up... just reading about that one made me feel a little sick. :hmmm:

Gaaaack!

I do, however, love ranch dressing. Prefer the homemade but will swizzle up the boughten if that's all that's around. A secret pleasure at inexpensive restaurants -- salad bar with ranch. :)

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Now I know how to make it. Why is it called Ranch?

Steve and Gayle Henson of Hidden Valley Ranch invested the stuff. His friends called it 'Ranch" dressing and Viola......name stuck.

Check an earlier post in this topic for the link which take you to the story.

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Before Ranch was in a bottle, it was a dry mix in a packet; that is how it became famous. I grew up in the 60s, when it started to take America by storm. I never touched the stuff (or any other commercial dressing, which were pretty much absent in my house). Oddly, a few years ago, while living in Nashville (a ranch stronghold), I started making it at home to eat with raw carrots--an outstanding match. I always have buttermilk on hand, and it is easy to stir up for a quick snack or appetizer. I put Tabasco in mine.

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Saveur did an article on the invention of Ranch Dressing some time ago. I can't find the article on line but here's the recipe that I believe accompanied that article.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Now I know how to make it. Why is it called Ranch?

Steve and Gayle Henson of Hidden Valley Ranch invested the stuff. His friends called it 'Ranch" dressing and Viola......name stuck.

Check an earlier post in this topic for the link which take you to the story.

Hidden Valley Ranch in California opened as a dude ranch in the 1950's The owners invented their creamy buttermilk dressing to serve in the restaurant. It was really popular, so they began producing it commercially and selling it as "Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing." The reason for calling it "ranch" might be a puzzle now, but then it was pretty obviously a no-brainer.

And although I posted this over in the "odd pizza habits" thread, this link (to a story about a pizza restaurant that prominently bans ranch dressing) is appropriate here, too.

Pizza & Ranch Dressing Rebellion

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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All my ex waiter/waitress friends call Ranch dressing "white girl ketchup", because of the proliferation of sorority-looking girls who order it as a side for everything dipable. It's *almost* white trash, (kind of like the trucker hats of a few years back,) but not quite.

I'm definitely guilty of ordering it with chicken strips and fries. Something about the cold, creamy, savory thing contrasting with hot salty potatoes. Yum. But there's definitely a dividing line where a food becomes not ghetto enough for Ranch. I know that at Flying Saucer (a big beer bar chain), the chicken strips need it, but it wouldn't feel right with the bratzel (which is essentially a pretzel, covered in sliced brats and cheese, that comes with whole grain mustard). So it's kind of a lowbrow pleasure, I guess?

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

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  • 7 years later...

The story of Ranch Dressing, and it's historical beginnings...

 

Ranch Nation

 

Quote

Steve Henson, a plumber from the tiny village of Thayer, Neb., came up with the dressing mix around 1950, during a stint in Anchorage as a construction worker, where he also served as an occasional cook for the crew. In that part of the world, perishable ingredients like fresh herbs, garlic and onions, and dairy products were not easy to come by.

 

Quote

Meanwhile, back in Santa Barbara, the Hidden Valley Ranch is no more. Steve Henson sold the brand to the Clorox company in 1972 for $8 million; in 2017, Hidden Valley products (there are more than 50) took in over $450 million, according to industry analysts. But the nearby Cold Spring Tavern, the first place outside the ranch to serve the dressing, is still open — and has been since 1868, when it began life as a stagecoach stop. (It has hosted guests as diverse as Susan B. Anthony, Charles M. Schulz and Anthony Perkins.)

 

ETA:  I shoudda said another story about Ranch Dressing.

 

And I also shudda said a bunch of us used to go to Cold Spring Tavern during my Santa Barbara days, but I don't remember the ranch dressing there!

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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It's interesting that what we call Ranch dressing is called American dressing in Europe, according to that story.

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