1. hemidactylus says

    I prefer my ranch with bacon flavoring and a tincture of habanero. The latter often leaves me singing something when the tincture becomes more of an overpoured blob.

  2. cgilder says

    Toddlers are The Best.

    I mean, they can also be The Worst, but I think I’ve managed to block out most of those memories.

  3. blf says

    I vaguely remember “Ranch Dressing”, it was a (barely) acceptable third option for a salad dressing (at the time, “Blue Cheese” or a homemade on-the-spot mix of real mayonnaise and Dijon mustard were the two better alternatives). I’ve since learned about Olive Oil & Balsmatic Vinegar and other “weird” foreign foods, and make (if I say so myself) an awesome dressing from Olive Oil, Balsmatic Vinegar, Kéfir, and prepared Mustard (whatever’s on hand), sometimes with added snail (yes, really!), cheese (typically a blued variety), and/or freshly chopped garlic. I do my own shaking to mix it all up — never tried hiring a child to shakecuddle it up for me… (Once the mildly deranged penguin did the shaking — salad dressing explodes at hypersonic velocities.)

  4. R. L. Foster says

    What will she do when you open it up and start pouring out the contents onto a bowl of lettuce?

  5. whheydt says

    The advantage of grandchildren is that, when they get cranky, you can give them back to the parents.

    As regards salad dressings… My preferences are (in order), Catalina, French and Blue Cheese. After that list, I will simply ignore the salad. (Or, as a friend of mine put it, I didn’t fight my way to the top of food chain to eat like a rabbit.)

  6. blf says

    I didn’t fight my way to the top of food chain to eat like a rabbit.

    Giggles… Amusingly, my salads almost never contain lettuce (or carrots or rocket (arugula)) — all of which are Ok, in small amounts… My salads usually have either a base of (cooked & chilled) potatoes, or tomatoes (of which there are a huge variety (grown?) locally)†, usually with chopped sausage (usually cured, e.g., salami) or prosciutto or similar, lumps of cheese, and sometimes stuff like beans (various types, usually cooked & chilled), apple chunks, raw onion shallot or leek, and so on. Strangely, no hard-boiled egg, but sometimes topped with a fried egg.

      † One of the local outdoor market stallholders seems to have a tomato fetish. Each summer about half of their (fairly large (relatively speaking)) organic veggie stall is nothing but tomatoes of all different sorts, shapes, colours, and tastes.

  7. consciousness razor says

    Caesar, Italian, oil and vinegar: all good. Some others: acceptable. But ranch can go fuck itself.

    And Midwestern? Absurd. It is to laugh. Wiki knows:

    In the early 1950s, plumber Steve Henson developed[3] what is now known as ranch dressing while working as a contractor for three years in the remote Alaskan bush. In 1954, he and his wife Gayle opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch at the former Sweetwater Ranch on San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County, California, where they served Henson’s creation to customers.


    In October 1972, the Hidden Valley Ranch brand was bought by Clorox for $8 million.

    I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens. And obviously, they put bleach in the dressing (after faking the moon landing). But if that’s your thing, okay. Not judging here.

  8. PaulBC says

    I have never liked ranch dressing and did not even hear of it till the second half of my childhood, probably those Hidden Valley commercials. (Our go-to was Wishbone Italian and similar brands.)

    My favorite 70s memory is “California dip” as enjoyed all over the US I assume, though I was in the Philly area. It is Lipton dry onion soup mix combined with sour cream, normally enjoyed with potato chips. I haven’t had it in years, but I would still prefer it to ranch dressing. Yuk.

    (Pretty clever marketing too. Taking a product with limited appeal like instant onion soup, slapping a tinseltown mystique on top of it, and selling it to the rubes.)

  9. PaulBC says

    In October 1972, the Hidden Valley Ranch brand was bought by Clorox for $8 million.

    So does ranch dressing cure coronavirus?

  10. says

    I’m not a native midwesterner, so no, I’m not a fan of ranch dressing. Growing up, we didn’t put dressing on anything. Butter & dill on our slabs of salmon, lemon juice for the clams, ketchup on everything else, like virile young western barbarians.

  11. rabbitbrush says

    If ever there was a fake salad dressing, it would be “ranch dressing.” Yuck. Surprised it isn’t made with Miracle Whip, another fake. Maybe it is.

  12. consciousness razor says

    (Pretty clever marketing too. Taking a product with limited appeal like instant onion soup, slapping a tinseltown mystique on top of it, and selling it to the rubes.)

    I have a terrible idea. I’ll start with some flavor packets from those super-cheap Maruchan instant ramen bricks. Just the plain old chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp ones. Or we’ll see, maybe combine some flavors together. Just add a little water, and I don’t know, non-dairy creamer? Perhaps grind up some of the noodles to make the concoction thicker? I just need to come up with a good name and maybe get Guy Fieri or somebody to do a commercial, so I can charge about $5.89 per bottle.

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    As the French settlers displaced from the Thousand Islands said

    Je ne vinaigrette rien

  14. PaulBC says

    Isn’t Thousand Islands in upstate New York? I too find it baffling. My mother spent much of her childhood in Syracuse, and I think this must have something to do with my awareness of this fact.

  15. PaulBC says

    Note: when I say “too” I may be presumptuous. As a child, I assumed such an archipelago would be located in the Pacific, and others may have thought so. (But rereading RobG, I guess French settlers would fit the actual location on the border between Canada and the US.)

    FWIW, I do not like Thousand Islands, French, or Russian dressing (the latter is OK on a Reuben I guess). I will stick to non-creamy dressings.

  16. davidc1 says

    @8 Wrote .
    “The advantage of grandchildren is that, when they get cranky, you can give them back to the parents.”
    That goes for Nieces and Nephews as well .The way my N & N’s remember their childhoods they tell me,i acted towards
    them like a cross between Stalin ,Hitler ,,and Freddie Kruger .

    I remember it as i used to take my no 1 niece to feed the horses ,got her interested in Natural History ,and stuff like that .
    But they tell me i used to hang them up from coat hooks on the back of doors .
    To tell the truth ,that sounds like me but i can’t remember doing it .
    And one nephew says i chucked his house keys on the out house roof ,which i did do .
    Only because i didn’t want him to go home ,i know that sounds a little pathetic .

  17. Ice Swimmer says

    PZ @ 13

    Butter and dill sound quite Nordic.

    whheydt @ 8

    I don’t like salad that much, but AFAIK, what our close relatives, gorillas, eat could be described as salad (a lot of fresh vegetables) and they’re big and not to be messed with.

  18. whheydt says

    Re: Robert Westbrook @ #20…
    Catalina is French with hair on it’s chest. Basically, a spicier, sharper, French. I would add tastier, but that’s personal opinion.

  19. blf says

    @23, Apropos of nothing, Catalina (technically, Santa Catalina) is an island off the coast of Los Angles, and is (mostly) a privately-managed nature reserve. Cars are all-but-banned.

  20. wzrd1 says

    I’m reminded of our children and grandchildren as toddlers, more likely to play with the box a toy was in, rather than the toy itself.

    Still, an ideal caption: lettuce prey… Where are the tomatoes and onions?

    As for dressings, note the sugar content on most popular brands. I prefer mixing up my own vinagrettes.

  21. hemidactylus says

    Chicken wings require ranch. Case closed. Jeez the haters came out in full force today.

  22. PaulBC says

    Ray Ceeya@29 I grew up in a split level. Or you mean a ranch-dressing-using house? Context. (And yeah, I did read it that way as I type this from a 50s-era ranch house in the SF Bay Area).

  23. hemidactylus says

    I use ranch as a dipping sauce or on sandwiches but for salads prefer vinaigrettes or some sort of honey mustard. Honey mustard haters to your battle stations. Oh and cleanup on aisle 30.

  24. PaulBC says

    Taste is an individual thing, but I am usually looking for spicy, sour, or salty flavors. I can sort of see the point of ranch dressing as first-aid for spicy buffalo wings, but not as much on its own. I used to like the McDonald’s hot mustard sauce for McNuggets, though it’s not that hot, and it is also sweet. I am not a fan of honey mustard.

  25. captainjack says

    I put EVOO and Lea & Perrins on greens. I find most vinegars pretty tasteless. The stuff they sell as balsamic vinegar in big grocery stores are grape juice and acid. Real balsamic vinegar is wasted on salad but it’s marvellous dribbled on grilled ripe peaches.

  26. Ray, rude-ass yankee - One inseparable gemisch says

    She’s very blonde! Not a problem, some of my best siblings are blonde.
    You have to start your snuggling and singing somewhere!

  27. rscarce says

    Russian dressing
    It’s great to be around people who are so much better than everyone else. I wilt in comparison (greens reference(green irony not lost on me))
    Athiests are reliably intolerant.
    If you’re that much better than “people of faith” you wouldn’t need to prove it every chance you get.
    Like every single chance you get.
    Like “my taste in salad dressing is superior to yours” level of granularity.
    Do I really sound like you people?

  28. PaulBC says

    rscarce@39 (a) I don’t think religion or atheism ever came up in this thread. (b) I believe people should enjoy whatever salad dressing they want, or no salad dressing at all. (Much as I would say about religion.)

    A few people on this thread sounded a little adamant about their feelings on salad dressing, but most of it was tongue in cheek. To the extent that people do get snobbish about matters of taste, it’s not only on PZ’s blog.

  29. blf says

    captianjack@37, “I find most vinegars pretty tasteless. The stuff they sell as balsamic vinegar in big grocery stores are grape juice and acid.”

    Broadly, that was also my opinion until fairly recently: Most(? all?) Balsamic vinegars I’d ever bought were so-so, and (most) other vinegars seemed pretty pointless.

    What changed my mind was an impromptu Balsamic vinegar tasting at a local Italian specially shop here in the French Mediterranean seaside village where I live. One day, I noticed the shop owner had six or so different Italian Balsamic vinegars all made by same producer, Giuseppe Giusti (link is in English). I asked him what the difference was, and he then opened up a bottle of each, we had a tasting, and he explained what sort of foods the different ones were commonly used with. And the six we tasted are different, in taste, mouth “feel”, colour, and viscosity. Some are sweet, some are acidic, some are smokey, and so on — the variation in flavours can be surprising.

    None (of those we tasted) were, in my opinion, even close to the “tasteless” supermarket stuff. I now routinely have several bottles at home, which seem to get used up rather quickly… not only in a salad dressing, but in soups, risotto, sauces / condiments, and many other dishes (notable exceptions are stir-frys and ice cream!). Some varieties work extremely well with delicate fish!