What is the fascination that people have with the mystical creation of Ranch dressing? Where I come from in South Texas, it is the third favorite beverage right behind Lone Star and Dr. Pepper. If I had a dollar for every time someone said “Can I get a large Ranch dressing on the rocks, please?” I would have exactly two dollars. There was a time when I too was guilty of devouring huge portions of this delectable concoction and for the record, I will still stand behind the wonderful flavor combination of pepperoni pizza from Mr. Gatti’s dipped in Ranch. Just thinking about it sends me back to 1983. Over the years, my tastes have changed and my craving for Ranch slowly waned. Some people, however, will never get over their need for the creamy calories.
The restaurant I work in has a very small menu. All of our sauces and dressings are house made so when people ask for 1000 Island or some other familiar dressing from the grocery store, they are out of luck. Since it isn’t in Texas or nestled in a hidden valley anywhere, I have never had anyone ask for Ranch. Until last week.
customer: I’d like fried calamari, what does that come with?
me: It comes with our house made spicy marinara sauce.
customer: Okay, but I’d like Ranch dressing instead.
me: I’m sorry, we don’t have Ranch dressing.
me: We don’t have Ranch dressing, will the marinara be alright?
customer: Why don’t you have Ranch?
me: Um, we just don’t have it.
customer: But how you can not have Ranch?
me: We just don’t have it. Would you like to order the calamari anyway?
customer: Where’s the nearest deli?
me: There is a little grocery store right across the street that probably sells-
customer: Oh! Well?
customer: Well, I guess I could go buy it.
me: Yes, you could go buy it. Would you like to order the calamari?
customer: Yes, I’ll have the calamari.
In a flash, the lady had her coat on and was racing across the street to satisfy her need for Ranch dressing. Five minutes later, she was happily ensconced in her booth with a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch proudly sitting on the table. I placed the calamari in front of her and she wrapped her fingers around the neck of the bottle of dressing and poured it onto the plate. “Is there anything else you need?” I asked.
She looked up at me with a grin on her face and a bit of Ranch dressing on her chin and said, ‘I have everything I need right here.” She poured a little more dressing onto her plate and swirled a forkful of calamari through it. “But you should tell your boss to order some Ranch dressing. It’s delicious!”
“Yes ma’am, I’ll do that. Enjoy your calamari.”