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Your Salad Dressing History

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So what's your preference in Salad Dressings?

What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?

When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad?

What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?

What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best?

Feel free to respond to any or all of the above! :)

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  1. When I was growing up, my Mom's freshly made Thousand Island (mayo, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, a few seasonings) was the dominant dressing in out household but we almost always had Ott's French and Wishbone Italian in the refrigerator, too. I still enjoy them when I visit Mom's house mostly as nostalgic comfort food but I don't have them in my house.

    When dining out, my first preference is always either bleu cheese or Roquefort with big chunks of cheese. If that's not available, perhaps Italian with bleu cheese crumbles. Next choice would be either raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette followed by a maybe a good quality poppy seed dressing. If all else fails, I revert to Italian, either regular or creamy.

    I don't really make many dressings myself, but I have made and do enjoy others' homemade raspberry vinaigrette. When I'm on a tight food regime, I love smothering a salad with fresh, homemade salsa (or a commercially made salsa with nothing but veggies, no additives).

    I don't care for bleu cheese dressings in bottles but do enjoy the jars of bleu cheese that are kept under refrigeration at the grocery store. In my part of the country, Marie's Bleu Cheese is probably my favorite but I've tried other cold-stored jars of bleu cheese and enjoyed those, too.

    I've never yet met a Newman's dressing I didn't like but I probably have a preference for Newman's Balsamic Vinaigrette and Newman's Italian. I also like trying the small company dressings, especially those that are locally or regionally made. I've come across some good Poppy Seed, Green Goddess, and Creamy Vidalia Onion dressings that I really like.


    1. Roast a couple chili peppers add fresh squeezed grapefruit juice olive oil and rice vinegar salt pepper....yum

      1. More and more of my specialty salads that have red onion ans possibly a bit of pasta are dressed with: red wine vinegar, honey, rough ground black pepper, salt, olive oil.

        Japanese salad with: mirin or dry white wine, chopped green onion/chives, ground white pepper, salt, ground toasted sesame seeds (key ingredient), neutral oil, sugar (amount depends on white wine vinegar or mirin), touches of garlic and ginger.

        I use the yogurt I make for Middle Eastern, a part of Nicoise, and similar salads.

        I never buy dressings.

        Dining out: oil, vinegar, salt, pepper.

        Grew up on: various homemade.

        1. My Mom used to buy a commercial dressing called "Milano 1890" or "Milani 1890" that was delicious. Is it still made? Anyone? Do we have a recipe?

          1 Reply
          1. re: rruben1

            Your question intrigued me and I had to Google a bit but found that you can get Milani 1890 dressing on Amazon or from Hometown Favorites, but you have to buy in bulk. I remember that sweet/tangy orange colored goop was used in numerous recipes in the 70's and 80's. The recipe usually called for chicken cutlets, a bottle of Miani's and some canned fruit. I seem to recall that if pineapple chunks or rings were involved in conjunction with bell pepper the resulting "gourmet" dish was called Hawaiian chicken and was served over yummy, gummy, white rice.

          2. I think I really prefer vinaigrettes the older I get, but I really prefer restaurant vinaigrettes- I just can't make them as good no matter how hard I try.

            I grew up with Dorothy Lynch (let's hear it for the Midwest!!) because that was the only dressing that my dad would really tolerate... now he likes more kinds, but back then, only DL! Still love it! And this is very, very weird, but when I eat lasagna, I have to have a salad with Dorothy Lynch... I know it shouldn't go together, but it just does for me.

            Almost always vinaigrette in a restaurant, unless there's a good homemade garlicky, creamy dressing. Mass Street Deli (Lawrence, KS) used to have a fantastic garlic feta dressing, but last time I was there, they had switched to bottled dressings! Shocking!

            My dinnertime duty growing up was always to make the salad because my mom hated to make salads! Guess what... now I hate to make salads! I don't know what it is, but it just never tastes as good unless someone else makes it. I still make them because I like salads, and most often I make a balsamic, white wine, or cider vinaigrette. Although, the other day I made Ina Garten's thousand island dip and it was fantastic- I could see thinning that out for an awesome dressing.

            I'm rarely happy with a grocery store dressing, esp. vinaigrettes. Probably going to have to go with Dorothy Lynch on this one again!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Katie Nell

              I don't ever recall trying Dorothy Lynch dressings here in Kansas City, Katie. I might have to look for them. But I do well remember Mass St. Deli's delicious dressing! Sorry they aren't making it any longer. :(

              1. re: Katie Nell

                My mom always had, and still does have, Dorothy Lynch at her house. Yes, midwest girl.
                If I'm buying a dressing it is usually french or catalina. If I'm eating out it is usually honey mustard or ceasar.

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  Dorothy Lynch or "Western". Stil love them both, although I now have to have my Western thinned down with some extra olive oil and vinegar. Too thick and sweet otherwise. Being a midwesterner transplanted to Texas, it drives me crazy that very few restaurants here serve any type of red/orange dressing. You can get 5 different flavors of Ranch, but no French or anything resembling it.

                  My husband and I both love salads, and I'll eat almost any kind of dressing. He, on the other hand, is a purist and in a restaurant always asks for V&O, because he doesn't like most other dressings. We've met in the middle, however, and he now loves any of the various forms of vinegarette that I make. One thing I love to do is start with some type of bottled marinade or sauce and then turn it into a vinegarette by adding EVOO and an appropriate type of vinegar. For example if its something Asian, I'll use rice wine vinegar. If I want it a little sweeter, I always add honey - never sugar. The downside is that once I've concocted something I can almost never recreate it.

                2. Bob's Big Boy-Bleu Cheese Dressing-Use to use it on my fries too... yum
                  Newman's Own Caesar
                  Homemade Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing
                  Raspberry Vinaigrette

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mochi mochi

                    Bob's Big Boy at the restaurant was good dressing, but the store bought or bottled stuff wasn't the same. I agree about homemade chinese chicken salad dressing is great and I make my own Roquefort at home now, good stuff!

                  2. We didn't really eat salad at home. If we were at the cafeteria and I got a salad, I had blue cheese. I never went through any phase as a child when I didn't like blue cheese, even when someone told me just what it was that made it blue. But if we went to Murphy's, they had this really wonderful homemade garlic dressing, which was on the table with a few other kinds of dressing, including Ott's. The garlic was fine on its own, but I used to would put a little bit of all of them on. And then down in Tontitown, the place we always went only had their house dressing, some kind of Italian vinaigrette, and they would crumble blue cheese over the top of it if you wanted.

                    Nowadays at home I make my own dressings, depending on what the salad is and what I've got handy. I also have a wonderful--NOT lowfat--recipe for "garlic cheese dressing," blue cheese with a ton of garlic. I don't make it often because the recipe makes about a quart of dressing and I'm the only one in the house who likes it.

                    But if I go out, I still tend to choose blue cheese.

                    1. I always have a container of this homemade dressing in the refrigerator: lemon juice, garlic, fresh sage, 1 can anchovies, 1 egg yolk, and really good olive oil, beat in the food processor.
                      Great for dipping asparagus or green beans in, or over lettuce etc.

                      1. Your post made me realize that as a child, we really didn't have salads at home. When I was a kid, when we went out, I always had "Thousand Island Dressing" on my salads -- I wish I knew the origin of that name. I'm guessing it had something to do with the Caribbean, but that's just a guess. I think I liked it because it was similar to Ketchup, but haven't really tested the theory. My brother was a fan of blue cheese dressing, which I didn't like until I was in my late teens and off at college, and had it in the context of buffalo chicken wings. When we did have salad at home, it was served with Girard's Champagne Dressing or Lawry's Red Wine Vinegar and Oil, which is no longer available.

                        Around the time I went away to college, I fell in love with the eponimous "tossed green salad," as typically served with the house vinnaigrette, and I learned how to make my own, and pretty much have never looked back, except for occasionally, I do like a bit of homemade Thousand Island on a salad with bay shrimp or crab.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: DanaB

                          I know that it was named after the Thousand Islands in upstate NY, but not sure why exactly. It's a very popular summer destination for tourists. This wiki doesn't exactly explain the naming either, but has some info:

                          1. re: coll

                            I'd like to believe that all the vittles suspended in a creamy sea of pinkish orange would be the thousand islands, thats what jaun told me anyway.

                            1. re: Carmelizedbunions

                              I know, now I'll always think of that when I see Thousand Island dressing!

                            2. re: coll

                              It was indeed named for the 1000 Islands. Here's the story of its creation:


                              The story is most likely true. My sister lives in Clayton and has fishing guides among her inlaws. One of her BIL's won a New York State folklore award of some sorts by continuing the "shore dinner" tradition, and would swear that it's true. Of course, the fishing guides are also noted for tall tales...

                              You can still get the purported original at the 1000 Islands Inn.

                            3. re: DanaB

                              Your house was the exact opposite of mine, then, because I don't think my Mom has ever put dinner on the table without a salad, even if it's just a "tossed green salad" with oil and vinegar.

                              I live alone, so I rarely make salad -- it seems like too much prep to make an interesting salad for one person, especially since they don't keep. Also, I don't like most salad veggies, so I have to get creative. I finally "invented" a salad with greens, steamed fresh corn kernals and diced cooked beets, dressed with my favorite vinaigrette and some minced shallots. I've become convinced that shallots are the secret to great restaurant salads.

                              Anyway, salad dressing was always homemade vinagrette. I occasionally like a creamy dressing (bleu cheese or ranch), but I never make them. I have a vinaigrette recipe I really like -- it makes two cups, so it lasts me quite a while in a jar in the fridge.

                            4. So what's your preference in Salad Dressings?
                              I'm a oil & vinegar kind of gal, or just lemon & olive oil. BUT sometimes I like big fattening globs of thousand island or Ken's Caesar </i>

                              What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?
                              Mostly various bottled Italian & Caesar dressings. I recall my sister being the Thousand Island afficinado. I don't think a bottle of Ranch passed our threashold</i>

                              When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad?
                              I usually opt for a vinegrette, I am so boring. There a few local places that have homemade bleu cheese & 1000 isle that I dig</i>

                              What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?

                              What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best?
                              I like Ken's, Paul Newman's. I seem to try those hippy dressings..I forgot the name, it has a woman on the bottle, 1x a year and regret it.</i>

                              1. I grew up with homemade vinaigrettes and the occasional blue cheese - both I love to this day. I've gotten a taste for adding horseradish or wasabi to either vinaigrettes or yogurt + vinegar-based dressings. I like the extra tang. And all of the basic vinaigrettes I make involve an assortment of hot peppers, cumin, chili powder, fresh herbs, etc.

                                I don't particularly like anything I've tried bottled or in restaurants - they're normally too oily or sweet for my taste.

                                1. while growing up it was Russian dressing-ketchup,mayo and a dash of sugar--
                                  I use olive oil and balsamac vinegar when I create my own--I discovered T. Marzetti Baja Ranch which is great as well as their regular ranch-yum

                                  1. My mother used to make a dressing with lemon juice, brown sugar and salt -- for a iceburg lettuce, tomato, cuke salad .. I loved drinking the leftover dressing at the end.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: orangewasabi

                                      My mom did the same thing, except it was white sugar--- She was a great lady, but she fed us kids WAY too much sugar......

                                      Uncle Ira

                                    2. creamy garlic dressing served tossed with escarole, chickory, and cabbage which was a mainstay in the old seafood restaurants in the ny metro area.

                                      1. I only like *one* store bought dressing (ok, two, but they're the same): Annie's Organic Goddess Dressing / Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing. I love the seasme/tahini aspect, and it doesn't take much to impart a really good hit of flavor.

                                        Otherwise, I like to make my own vinegarettes (interpreted through many different ethnic genres) at home, which have gotten a lot better since I got one of those stick/immersion blenders. I also love using our homemade plain yogurt as a base for garlicky lemony dressings.

                                        I've always wondered: what the heck is in *green* goddess dressing? I used to love that as a kid.

                                        When dining out, I am almost embarassed to admit that I LOVE the Cheescake Factory's plum dressing for the Chinese Chicken Salad. I rarely eat at CF (mostly for work lunches if at all) but geez that dressing is addictive. I'm sure it's made of plastic. Tasty plastic.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: litchick

                                          " This dressing was created in the 1920's by the chef at san frans palace hotel in honor of actor george arliss who was appearing locally in a play called 'green goddess'. the classic green goddess dressing is a blend of mayonaise, tarragon vinegar, anchovies, parsley, chives, tarragon, scallions and garlic." from the food lover's companion

                                          1. re: Carmelizedbunions

                                            anchovies and tarragon and parsley, eh? no wonder I liked it!

                                            1. re: litchick

                                              Yummy stuff, although I havent looked at the ingredients in Annie's, it does have a nice sesame tahini flavor like you mentioned. Goes really good on edamame salad.

                                            2. re: Carmelizedbunions

                                              Is Green Goddess the one with avocado, or is there another one?

                                              1. re: coll

                                                No although it would be good w avacado, its kind of a creamy tangy herb dressing with some sesame flavor, try it, its good.

                                                1. re: Carmelizedbunions

                                                  You inspired me to look up recipes, the anchovy sounds key to me. A lot of them didn't even mention it! Some had avocado, a lot more had tofu (!) and one even had green food coloring...I believe I'll wing it.

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Tofu, wow, silken i would imagine, that sounds good and healthy, let me know what works.

                                          2. Growing up, it was only bottled dressing. I'm sure my mom wouldn't have known how to put together a homemade dressing if her life depended on it. I loved French and Russian particularly. Anything really creamy.

                                            Now, it's completely different. I hate bottled dressings. Nearly all of them - there are very few which I enjoy. If I'm at someone's home, I'll make do. We have brought our own olive oil and vinegar to my MIL's home, because she is infamous for having rancid oil all the time.

                                            I only use good extra virgin olive oil and various vinegars to make my own from scratch.

                                            If I'm in a restaurant, I ususally pass on on salad bars because the dressings are awful to me and usually the olive oil/vinegar they provide in lieu of the manufactured dressing is low quality too. However, I love salads which are artfully prepared in decent restaurants that are making their dressing from scratch with quality ingredients in which case, nearly any type of dressing is fair game for me. It all would depend on the type of salad I'm having, what would feel appropriate to the ingredients of the salad.

                                            1. 1. Homemade Roquefort
                                              2. Homemade mustard vinaigrette made with rosemary-infused olive oil.
                                              3. Homemade classic Caesar
                                              4. Golden Temple Dressing:
                                              3/8 c. lemon juice, 1/4 medium onion, chopped
                                              1/2 c. Tahini, 1/4 red pepper, chopped
                                              1/4 c. tamari, 1 stalk celery, chopped
                                              1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 t. kosher salt & pinch freshly ground black pepper
                                              Toss everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

                                              1. We always had salad when I was growing up, and I never liked dressing as a child. I ate my salad straight, which seemed strange to those family members who didn't really like salad and needed the dressing to make it palatable.

                                                As I grew older I began to use bottled Italian dressing, but after a while that just tasted far too salty and I started making my own vinaigrettes, and that's pretty much what we eat most of the time.

                                                1. My parents make vinaigrette exclusively. When I was a kid, it was with lemon juice, but now they alternate with balsamic vinegar. They've also started switching up the oils.

                                                  I discovered creamy dressings as a teenager, and went through a phase where I made only yogurt-based dressings. I had another phase where I used seasoned rice vinegar as a dressing, then salsa.

                                                  Now I make my own dressings fairly often. But I keep bottled dressing in the fridge at work and at home for emergencies (read: laziness). I buy:

                                                  Newman Own Lighten Up! sesame ginger
                                                  Walden Farm's Honey Dijon
                                                  Pathmark fat-free Italian (cheaper than the Kraft or Wishbone)

                                                  1. What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?
                                                    ranch, pretty much. And no, I don't care for it now.

                                                    When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad?
                                                    if it's a good one, Caesar. Honey mustard is usually safe at questionable restaurants; so is balsamic vinaigrette, or oil and vinegar/\.

                                                    What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?
                                                    balsamic vinaigrette, caesar, various ones I make up

                                                    What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best?

                                                    1. So what's your preference in Salad Dressings?
                                                      Vinaigrette, really good Ranch or Roquefort.

                                                      What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?
                                                      I remember Kraft Zesty Italian, Hidden Valley Ranch and my Mom's homemade vinaigrette with crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese "blendered" into a semi-creamy blue cheesy/Italian concoction. Still love them all and make the latter.

                                                      When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad?
                                                      Traditional tableside Caesar (I know - salad rather than a dressing but the dressing done this way on the salad is legendary), house vinaigrette/Italian in good Italian restaurants, Roquefort dressing on a wedge salad in a steak house...

                                                      What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?
                                                      Todd English's Lemon Vinaigrette http://www.toddenglish.com/Recipes/Dr...; my Mom's vinaigrette/blue cheese dressing mentioned above.

                                                      What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best?
                                                      Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar and Caesar, Marie's Premium Super Blue Cheese and HV Ranch.

                                                      1. Lately, I've been all about the order of operations when doing an oil & vinegar dressing.

                                                        Rather than mixing it up then pouring it over the salad, I'm applying the ingredients individually.

                                                        Toss the salad with olive oil only. Then salt. Then vinegar.

                                                        The salad stays crunchy longer and the lettuce doesn't fall/burn.

                                                        When making a vinegrette with an emulsifier like egg or mustard, the emulsifier must help protect the vegetables a bit more as the 'falling' effect is not nearly as severe as straight oil & vin.

                                                        1. It was called, er, Salad Dressing. Krafts, or a store brand. But the veggies it went on weren't anything to be be embarrassed about, they were usually from our Victory Garden and often picked within an hour of serving.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                                            My brain just awakened. It was called "Kraft's Miracle Whip Salad Dressing". The miracle was that people actually ate ot.

                                                          2. I have fond memories of my mother making homemade bleu cheese dressing, and French dressing. One of my favourite combinations is putting a little of each on my salads. However, in the summer time we would pick lemon cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden, cut them into wedges and eat them drizzled with Good Seasons Italian dressing (the season packet we mixed with oil and vinegar). A dear friend in Burgundy makes vinaigrette fresh when he serves salad (nearly always lunch and dinner), and I learned a lot from the wonderful ways he made his dressings - no measuring, just texture and taste. The primary ingredients: EVOO, good mustards, a nice selection of vinegars, fresh herbs, and S&P.

                                                            1. When I was little I really liked the thick dressings such as thousand island and ranch. Nowadays I prefer vinaigrettes so as to elevate the flavor of the salad without compromising the integrity of the individual ingredients. Sometimes I add fruit purees and whatnot; I actually made a really good vinaigrette last week with orange pulp and saffron.

                                                              1. I like the same dressing I've always liked which is salt, olive oil, lemon juice (or lime, whatever is on hand)

                                                                That's basic and anything can be added, dried or fresh mint, sumac, mustard, dijon mustard, greek oregano, sun dried tomatoes in oil (chopped up small), balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, pomegranate syrup, raspberry jam, something hot.

                                                                I usually put more lemon than oil, so this is a very "light" but citrusy dressing.

                                                                Occasionally I'll make a tahini dressing, same idea except without the oil and more water to thin it out. Usually with sumac in it.
                                                                Or a yogurty blue cheese dressing.

                                                                Don't mind mayo on coleslaw but prefer it without, lots of citrus and onions and some olive oil is better IMO.

                                                                Dijon dressing good on beet salads. Even though my dressings are almost all the same I find that it tastes different on a variety of dishes so I like that I can taste the ingredients.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                  My mom raised us on "naked veggies" so we never had salad dressing in the house. We always had our salad dry, and to this day, that is the way I like it. :)

                                                                  1. re: mymomisthebestcook

                                                                    Salad dry? Interesting, I've never heard of that.

                                                                    I grew up making the mayo and .... combinations that Hellman's advertised at the time, and of course, oil (not extra virgin) and vinegar (not balsamic).

                                                                    I had crumbled blue cheese (not Gorgonzola) at the only restaurant we visited.

                                                                    I like them all now, but my favorite still remains Italian with crumbled Gorgonzola.

                                                                2. Grew up on my mom's dressing: oil, lemon, s&p, dried dill and/or parsley, sour cream, garlic. Still one of my favorites, even though I tend to use fresh herbs, and sometimes yogurt instead of sour cream.

                                                                  My grandmother used to make a sweet dressing with sugar which I hated.

                                                                  When dining out, yah, a good Caesar or a simple Balsamic vinaigrette that's not too sweet, sometimes I'm in the mood for parmesan-peppercorn. I find that American-style salad dressings are way too heavy and thick for my taste.

                                                                  When I don't make my sour cream/yogurt dressing, I often just splash some olive oil and red or white wine vinegar on the salad and toss it. Salt and fresh ground pepper.

                                                                  I am a great lover of various oils and vinegars, so will often make vinaigrettes with nut oils and different vinegars. Maille makes a great walnut mustard that is perfect.

                                                                  I've never had a store-bought dressing I liked. Too sweet, and too artificial tasting. And given how freaking easy it is to make your own, I think it's a total waste of money.

                                                                  1. Growing up I preferred my salads naked :) I refused to touch anything with mayonnaise, so most creamy dressings were out. We lived in fairly rural areas and the only non-creamy dressing available was Kraft and/or Wishbone Italian, which I didn't trust - based on my child logic, it was too closely related to the mayo-dressing that I hated. I was quite happy to eat my iceberg and tomatoes plain.

                                                                    At some point I discovered Caesar dressing, which is still the only creamy-ish dressing I like. If not in a Caesar mood, I'll order Italian or some other vinaigrette.

                                                                    At home I just use a splash of oil and vinegar. I will occasionally buy Ken's or Newman's Own dressings and keep a bottle in the fridge at work.

                                                                    1. I have never liked salad dressing. When I was growing up, I would never eat a salad that had dressing on it. Never. Now I have become a bit more comfortable with the idea, but I still don't dress my salads at home. Unless, of course, the salad greens are so dry that I can't get it down, then I might add some olive oil. In restaurants, I always ask for the dressing on the side, and then I might add a little bit of it on my salad to try it. I have always really hated oil and oiliness, and prefer my vegetables and greens "pure".

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: maria.clifford

                                                                        That's really kinda too bad, b/c the vitamins (the few that there are) in lettuce are fat-soluble. So you might as well eat handkerchiefs for the same nutritional benefit - or lack thereof.

                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                          Yeah, another problem is that it can be a problem socially. I hate having someone serve me a ready-dressed salad in their home, and me just picking at it. I feel like a bad guest, but especially for creamy dressings, I just can't eat it. And in restaurants people just view me as the fussy dieter, when I ask for the dressing on the side.

                                                                        2. Salad wasn't a big part of meals growing up. If we had them at all, it was basic lettuce and tomato with Kraft's "French" Dressing (now they call it "Creamy French".) Special salads meant the addition of cucumbers and radishes, still with the same orange-colored goo. I wouldn't touch that stuff now. Checkered tablecloth Italian restaurants meant an olive or two (which I always passed to someone who liked olives) along with some onion slices atop the lettuce and tomato; dressing was always simple oil and vinegar. Not bad, but quite often ruined by imbalance or wet salad greens.

                                                                          When Ranch dressing first made its appearance on the dining scene in the 70s, I was in my Russian dressing phase; I thought Ranch bland and boring by comparison. (There are some restaurant salads I'll order with Ranch, these days, but they're more main dish salads.) My consumption of Russian dressing was helped along by the explosion of salad bars in casual restaurants. More ingredients went in my salad, things like broccoli florets, chickpeas, red bell peppers, but I rarely moved beyond Russian/Thousand Island dressing. Now I'd only use that on Reuben sandwiches.

                                                                          The 80s brought Caesar Salad, Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Honey Mustard dressings. I loved them all at first bite, and still do. When eating out, those are the dressings I'm looking for. The 90s's brought Sesame-Ginger, and that's also a favorite.

                                                                          I'll make Honey-Mustard Dressing at home, and I'll only dress my cole slaw and potato salad with concoctions I make, nothing store-bought. Sesame-Ginger is the one I waffle on; sometimes I make it, most times I buy it. Usually the brand is Newman's Own. If anyone has a better brand to suggest, or has a kick-ass and easy recipe for it, please post. :)

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                            Ken's makes a Mandarin Orange Sesame Ginger that I like, but then again I've never tried Newmans. They also have some new flavors involving wasabi, one is creamy with cucumbers and another more a vinaigrette, I believe it has dijon in the name. I usually make my own (not snobby just cheap) but these were both great in cole slaw and the like, besides regular salads.

                                                                            BTW love your time line of salad dressings, guess I used to go for all those years ago too!

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              Ooooh, Mandarin Orange in the Sesame Ginger. I must try that one, thanks! :P

                                                                          2. What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?
                                                                            Creamy ones, like French and Thousand Island. No, I'm more of an oil and vinegar girl now.

                                                                            When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad?
                                                                            Oils and Vinegars, maybe bleu cheese

                                                                            What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?
                                                                            olive oil, garlic, and vinegar

                                                                            What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best?
                                                                            Wishbone will always be in my shopping cart.

                                                                            1. What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?

                                                                              Like most kids growing up in Wisconsin in the 80's, I think, my only experiences were Hidden Valley ranch dressing. Or thousand island. My parents ate a blue cheese dressing, but I hated it.

                                                                              I stayed that way until college, when I studied abroad in Argentina and discovered that (gasp!) they only had oil and vinegar to put on my salads. And since I was a vegetarian, and living in Argentina, I had A LOT of salad :)

                                                                              I started out hating it, but by the end of the semester, I had converted. Since then, I've mostly just made some sort of dressing involving oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and herbs.

                                                                              After a year of living in France, I discovered I could add old-fashioned-style mustard to this dressing and it would become even more wonderful, so that's my default dressing now.

                                                                              Occassionally I try something else, for example a sesame oil dressing or a buttermilk dressing or throwing sumac in a middle-eastern-style salad-- but they're all home-made these days. I can't stomach the store-brand salad dressings at all anymore. It might be the *only* thing I'm really picky about, now that I think about it!

                                                                              1. My mum always made a basic vinagrette with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, usually with some dijon mustard and/or minced garlic in there too. From a young age she would get me or one of my brothers to prepare the dressing while she made the rest of the dinner. Every night it would have different ratios depending on our individual tastes! (I preferred a more tart, vinegary dressing).
                                                                                Now I like to experiment when making dressings and try to tailor it to the salad. I never buy dressings because I think it's a complete waste of money when you can always make at least a basic one with what you have. Recently, I have started using buttermilk a lot as a base, usually mixed with fresh herbs (dill, parsley, basic work well), and spices (I made a great one with rose harissa).

                                                                                1. I grew up with exclusively bottled dressing (even though Mom is the recipe queen, she never quite made it to making salad dressing). Usually Italian or some other oil/vinegar style, but in my later years at home she got hooked on some Vidalia onion thing. Unfortunately, I really don't like any of those. I prefer creamier dressings. The one I eat most often is ranch, and it is usually bottled although I have made it. I really like Annie's Goddess, and my attempt at making that was an abysmal failure. I don't get it often because it is very overpriced here. I also like honey mustard on occasion, and I like that ginger stuff that comes on the salad at Japanese steakhouse chains. I have made those too. When I eat out it is usually ranch, but occasionally honey mustard or, rarely, Thousand Island. I also have had barbecue ranch that was really good, and once a spicy ranch that was awesome. I don't know why, but I have a real aversion to vinegar or too-tart citrus, so just about all non-creamy dressings are off my radar. I would really like to never buy salad dressing but the ones I like are more labor intensive so I don't see that happening in the near future.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: evewitch

                                                                                    If you make your own vinaigrette, you can make it so that it isn't as acidic (or sweet) as commercial salad dressings. It should be 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, anyway, and you can always mix it to your liking. Especially when you start using different oils and vinegars, and add fresh herbs, I think those non-creamy dressings might grow on you. And you can achieve some of that creamy feel by adding mustard.

                                                                                    1. re: evewitch

                                                                                      Eve - Green Goddess dressing? Is that what you tried to make? I tried too and it was indeed a horrible failure.

                                                                                      Grew up w/ Thousand (bottled), moved eventually to Ranch (bottled) but I prefer the vinaigrette now. Rarely made at home but that's what I prefer or a peppercorn is nice also.

                                                                                      I rarely make them at home as I'm never as satisfied w/ what I can buy.

                                                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                        So funny. I've yet to find a commercial salad dressing that I like. I find them all too sweet, or tasting of preservatives. And most of them, if not all, have HFCS. Not something that is really necessary.

                                                                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                          No, I meant the Annie's Goddess dressing, which is some sesame concoction. I've never ever tried Green Goddess, because I am scared it will screw it up.

                                                                                      2. Growning up, we basically had Iceberg lettuce, cukes and tomatoes with Wishbone dressing. It was probably Italian, don't really remember because the salad was so bland.

                                                                                        I'm a huge salad lover now and most days at work for my lunch, I have a salad. I usually have a protein, lots of different veggies and fruit, both dried and fresh. I dress it with a homemade dressing of lime, ginger, oil, salt and pepper. Or, I buy Newman's Own Caeser. I am not a fan of any fat free dressing at all, so I don't overdo with the dressing.

                                                                                        When I am out in a restaurant, I usually ask for the "house special" dressing, on the side. :)

                                                                                        1. Growing up, we had an assortment of Kraft dressings (like Italian, feta and oregano, ranch, different vinaigrette's etc). My mom would occasionally make a lemon juice, evoo, and balsamic dressing, but my favorite was my grandparent's housekeeper's German dressing that had lots of dill in it.... I can't remember what other ingrediants were in it, or even if it were creamy or not. But it was delicious.

                                                                                          I also love really garlicky ceasar salad dressings, growing up, but started avoiding them in my teens when I discovered how bad they were for you.

                                                                                          Now, I go through phases and love so many different store bought, home made and restaurant dressings....

                                                                                          I love a good simple vinaigrette. My fiance makes a great raspberry one. I just bought some good balsamic to play with myself. I have a Renee's yogurt based creamy garlic dressing that is fantastic as a broccoli slaw dressing in the fridge. I also love Tamari/sesame/miso Japanese style dressings. On a taco salad, Catalina or just salsa and sour cream. Thousand Island has been awesome on burgers...

                                                                                          I can't really think of a dressing I don't like to be honest.

                                                                                          1. We never had dressings on salad when I was growing up - possibly part of the reason why I thought I didn't like salad for years. These days I prefer homemade dressings, my favourite probably being a concoction of rice vinegar, mirin, light soy and seasame oil. I love it over crispy mixed lettuces with lightly cooked sliced snow peas and very thinly sliced cucumber. Mmmmmm.

                                                                                            1. this whole thread is making me crave a crappy, bottled, sweet and spicy catalina red gloppy dressing right now.....

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                Oh yeah Catalina. Fat free Catalina was my go to in college. Most of the girls in the dorms brought their own bottled favorite to the dining hall every night. Funny.
                                                                                                I still like that to dip raw veggies in, especially carrots.

                                                                                              2. Where else but CHOWHOUND could you find a discussion thread called "Your Salad Dressing History?" Had to click on it, to make sure my legal history was not inadvertantly posted.
                                                                                                I don't know that I had a sheltered childhood, but "salads" always meant potato salad or macaroni salad or tuna salas, etc. I was not exposed to a salad with greens and dressing. If the tomatoes from the garden were ready, they got sliced up and you might have them with a little salt or something.
                                                                                                On a class trip with my French class in high school, circa 1968, we went to a French movie in Manhattan, and went to a French restaurant. Of course, I had to have "French" dressing, and I was not just blown away by French dressing (I don't really remember that part), but eating this continental cuisine, and a salad with "french" dressing in the sophisticated atmosphere- it was all very heady stuff at the time. Thus my "history" began. I don't think grocery store shelves were lined with dozens of salad dressing choices in 1968. What was so incredible at the time is pretty mundane fare 42 years later.
                                                                                                On one of my cross-country ventures that took me to my married sister's family in Texas in the early 1970s, sister introduced me to the rage at the time- Ranch Dressing. I have enjoyed it over the years, but I always have the emotional tie-in to that great visit at my sister's.
                                                                                                Other "salad history:" I was drawn to varieties of Russian Dressings. I think one attraction is that there are, in fact, not dozens of "Russian Dressings" on the shelves. Rare, buried treasure of the commercial bottled dressing world. I know of 2, and the deep red one (Kraft?) is not the same dressing that I like at all. I can occasionally find "Ken's" out there. So, with my taste for "Russian Dressing," I have enjoyed trying dozens of from-scratch recipes over the years.
                                                                                                And as much as I like Thousand Island Dressing, I pretend to be disappointed in any Reuben Sandwich that is made with Thousand Is. and not Russian. (A Reuben purist.) The two dressings only differ by one or two ingredients.
                                                                                                Hope I've added to the discussion. There are some interesting posts on this thread (about salad dressings, of all things! Who would'a thought? Well, after all, this is Chowhound.) Take care.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                  As a depression kid, the salads my extended family put on the table were also mostly potato salad, the few times we had green salads I think the dressing was mainly thousand island. College days introduced me to green salads with ranch or italian dressing but I soon found that Italian soured on me. After marriage, I became more daring and was introduced to French, Russian and Blue Cheese as I started raising greens in my own garden, but I was a grandfather before I even ventured to make my own dressings and discovered that raspberry-walnut vinaigrette was much more appealing than just vinegar and oil, which I thought bland. I cycle through dozens of dressing types now. About the only ones I still avoid are Italian and Green Goddess.

                                                                                                2. As a child of the dreaded 60's, we always had Wish Bone Italian dressing in the fridge. Occasionally we would have a treat and have roquefort or some similar dressing.

                                                                                                  Once on my own I continued the tradition until I knew better. I would go with Newman's Own most of the time.

                                                                                                  Then I learned how easy it was to make my own Italian "house" dressing. This is now my dressing of choice.

                                                                                                  1. Grew up on Wishbone - French, Russian, Italian dressings. I still like Italian dressing, in general, but the other two are too heav

                                                                                                    When dining out, I like whatever best complements the salad I order. I do love the creamy chipotle dressing our local Mexica restaurant serves. I'm not sure how they do theirs but I have made my best attempt to recreate it with pepper, adobo sauce, and Kefir.

                                                                                                    My favorite grocery store brands are Annie's and Drew's. Annie's lite honey mustard is awesome. Drew's makes a great Smoked Tomato dressing and a Sesame Orange dressing.

                                                                                                    1. So what's your preference in Salad Dressings?

                                                                                                      What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?
                                                                                                      Earliest memories oil and vinegar white and cider and later red wine. I didn't like it oily and my sister and I typically went for straight vinegar.
                                                                                                      My Italian grandmother made the best oil and vinegar mix. She put fresh mint in it and i don't know what else, probably just salt and pepper, but it was delicious.
                                                                                                      Earliest recollections of bottled dressing was Italian and my mom's favorite blue cheese. I never touched the creamy stuff. Kraft, Wishbone, common national brands.
                                                                                                      I remember making salad dressing in Jr High home ec. That's all I remember making and it was soooo good I continued to make it at home. It was probably just a standard vinegar and oil thing. I remember it had sugar and dry mustard, probably garlic powder,but that would have been an exotic creation then.
                                                                                                      Had a French and Catalina phase in high school, college. Like someone else mentioned I did the raspberry , caesar and honey mustard in the 80's.
                                                                                                      I no longer go straight vinegar, but if I'm mixing oil and vinegar for myself it's still heavy on the vinegar, and I always cut the oil in recipes.

                                                                                                      When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad?
                                                                                                      Standard green salad a balsamic vinaigrette, other vinaigrette, or Italian in that order with blue cheese crumbles if they have it. Other choices depending on the salad: raspberry, Caesar, Greek, Chinese sesame.

                                                                                                      What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?
                                                                                                      Vinaigrettes with a lot of different types of vinegars and I've made sesame, citrus, wasabi and herbal concotions called for in particular recipes.

                                                                                                      What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best? There is always a bottle of national brand regular or Fat free Italian in my fridge (Kraft Zesty Italian, Wishbone, whatever), Cardini Caesar I'll doctor up withshaved parm and I'll usually have a few other ones on hand to try. Whatever looks new, different or vinegary. I try a lot of fat free ones. I've never had a salad anywhere with ranch, blue cheese or creamy anything other than caesar. That stuff is reserved for my husband, dipping veggies and chicken wings. Thousand island is for Reubens.

                                                                                                        1. 1. I generally love bleu cheese dressings, and particularly love true Roquefort dressing on the rare occasion I can find it. I also dote on Ranch and plain old oil and vinegar.

                                                                                                          2. I developed my love of Roquefort thanks to my mom who adored it. My dad, however, loved that hoary radioactive treacle known as French dressing, and I more or less followed suit until I hit my teens.

                                                                                                          3. I always ask for bleu cheese. Without exception.


                                                                                                          5. Annie's Naturals makes a shiitake-sesame dressing I really like. And Martinique Blue Cheese vinaigrette is scrumptious.

                                                                                                          1. what's your preference in Salad Dressings?
                                                                                                            right now, today it is good blue cheese dressing or good honey mustard

                                                                                                            What kinds of salad dressings did you grow up with? Do you still like those dressings?
                                                                                                            growing up, salad was lettuce w/tomatoes and Miracle Whip. always. I hate Miracle Whip. I never had bottled dressing, even Italian until about 10th or 11th grade.

                                                                                                            When dining out, what are your favorite types of dressings to have on your salad? depends on the restaurant and the type of salad

                                                                                                            What kinds of homemade dressings do you like?
                                                                                                            homemade blue cheese (Chart House recipe)

                                                                                                            What kinds of grocery store dressings do you like best? I don't like grocery store dressings, and I've tried them all at one time or another. Exception is Bob's Blue cheese Dressing.

                                                                                                            1. Growing up in central CA we were in the middle of a huge agriculture area. Yet my mother hated all vegetables aside from raw carrots and raw broccoli with ranch.
                                                                                                              We always had ranch dressing, and my dad who ate any and all vegetables (like i do) always had an italian vinegrette in a bottle. Usually newman's.

                                                                                                              I now hate both with a passion.

                                                                                                              Day to day i make my own from hummus thinned with lemon juice, or rice wine vinegar and oil, thinned greek yogurt with basalmic and pepper, or just salsa.

                                                                                                              At restaurants i always ask for dressing on the side, whatever vinegrette, and if they have something with tahini i'll order that.

                                                                                                              I hate any sweet or fruity dressings- no raspberry, blueberry, french or catalina here. (And keep your fruit out of my salad too!)

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                I agree not a fan of fruity dressings at all! Even a heavy handed balsamic can be too much for me.