Ranch Dressing: We Love It, But Where Did It Come From?

The Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing you see in stores today started its life as a plumber's assistant in Alaska. The story goes that Steve Henson, a plumber, cooked for his employees and part of that was making dressing.

Then, in 1954, he and his wife move to moved Santa Barbara County, CA, and opened a dude ranch. They called it Hidden Valley Ranch and they served Steve's dressing in the dining room. It was so popular, they started selling it; just like now in both seasoning packets and the seasoning mixed with buttermilk and mayo to create the finished product.

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Steve Henson and Gayle, his wife, opened a factory, and starting selling a LOT of dressing in supermarkets near their factory. Finally, in 1972, the whole kit and caboodle were sold to Clorox for a reported eight-million!

And that's where Ranch Dressing came from. Does it taste the same as it used to? Thrillist says not so much.

Today’s ranch dressing bears little-to-no resemblance to the original. In the time of its creation, ranch had a few basic ingredients: buttermilk, mayonnaise, spices, and herbs. Wholesome and caloric, but sadly perishable.

In the quest to perfect a shelf-stable alternative, Clorox and its competitors Kraft, Ken’s, and Wish-Bone created soybean and canola oil based alternatives. Other fun ingredients include MSG, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, and calcium disodium EDTA among others.

According to Mental Floss, HV Ranch Dressing was the favorite condiment in 5 of the United States.

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