The most popular dressing in the US (via Food Network) is used on more than just a salad. Ranch is an ideal dipping sauce for chicken wings, pizza, and fries. The zesty dressing is also notably the inspiration for a popular variety of Doritos. Ranch’s unique flavor comes from a blend of buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, and herbs. The patented blend adds the perfect amount of flavorful fat to your greens.
Ranch dressing hit the scene at the perfect moment, post-World War II, when the health craze hit California. At the time, more and more people were interested in eating salads for a healthy lifestyle. According to The New York Times, plumber Steve Henson came up with the idea for the dressing in the 1950s. His creamy, peppery creation was such a hit with friends, family, and colleagues, that he started to make it and sell it from his ranch called Hidden Valley.
When the Clorox company bought the Hidden Valley brand in 1972, they tweaked the ranch dressing formula and eventually created a version that replaced the buttermilk with a form of dried butter, giving it a longer shelf life (via Slate). With the buttermilk gone, the dressing was bottled up and made its way into grocery stores all over the country, and American consumers never looked back.