Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

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.
customer: What?
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?

long pause

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.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PILQxRY5MiM?rel=0]

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19 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

  1. Anonymous

    I work in a high end place and i have had women pull bottles of ranch dressing out of their purses since they never leave home with out it . And they do proudly display it on the table. I have had people freak out on me because the restaurant does not have any French, Russian ,1000 Island or a " Lite " dressing. All the dressings are house made but people are often horrified that there are no chemical enhancements in the food.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    No ranch where I work either, or A1 steak sauce. I have actually had someone get mad at me because after I placed their steak in front of them, they asked for A1 and I had to tell them we didn't have it. I tried to tell them that there was already a sauce on the plate, but apparently, I should have told them we didn't have A1 the moment they first ordered their steak.We don't have salt or pepper shakers either, so when they ask for that I bring them a ramekin of kosher salt from the kitchen and a pepper mill. They look at me like I am a complete moron.

    Reply
  3. witchybaiter

    Back in the Holocene ere when I was waiting tables love of ranch dressing was inversely comparable to tip size 100% of the time. A side of ranch is the canary in a coalmine of bad tipping, second only to a Grasshopper or Mudslide.

    Reply
  4. LadyJ3000

    I never understood the ranch obsession myself. My mom used to work at this super fancy restaurant that refused to carry it. People who go into tantrums when they learned that fact,

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    This is too funny. The timing is impeccable.Just recently, someone who use to live at our house and has since graduated from college, gainfully employed in a corporate office and living on their own , actually called us (the parents) and advised us that the grocery store has HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH dressing BOGO (buy one get one free) and they expect this hotel to have it on hand the next time they drop by! Not fat free, not with bacon; they expect just plain Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.We are also blessed with a young neighbor who drops by (daily), looks in the refrigerator and asks, "where's the Hidden Valley Ranch"? to go with whatever they are eating.What is the obsession?I'm thinking about investing in HVR stock!I absolutely love your writing! Thank You.

    Reply
  6. Jen

    I'm just grinning over the Mr. Gatti's reference. Haven't heard that in years; thanks for taking *me* back to South Texas (Conroe, more precisely!)

    Reply
  7. S

    I don’t get the ranch obsession either.

    Kind of silly,really. As a kid, sure I enjoyed it on the side of raw veggies, or a drizzle on a salad. Other than that, I don’t get why people need it on EVERYTHING! In junior high, I knew a girl who would eat pizza every single day for lunch and she’d eat it drenched in at least half a cup of the stuff. Needless to say, I haven’t eaten ranch in about a decade after seeing that.

    Reply
  8. Danielle

    Completely unrelated to the topic of the post, but where are you from? I’m from McAllen, Texas (but I’ve long since left Texas).

    Reply

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