For National Ranch Day on March 10, you should put Ranch on everything. We mean it. Everything. Because honestly, what dish isn’t made better by Ranch? Fries? Absolutely. Sandwiches? You bet. Ice cream? Okay, maybe. For today only, calories don’t count and the only law of the land is Ranch. Round up some friends for a Ranch taste test to determine the superior Ranch, try your hand at some new Ranch-inclusive recipes, or just use the iconic hashtag #RanchEverything. For some high-quality food-spo and a history of man’s perfect food, read on
History of National Ranch Day
Hidden Valley claims to have created the first Ranch back in 1954, on its dude ranch in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara – pretty idyllic for the birth of the one true dressing. Legend has it that plumber-turned-cowboy Hidden Valley rancher Steve Henson first established the ranch and cooked for his guests, covering his meals with a tantalizing mix of buttermilk and herbs.
Steve began to package his dressing and send it off with guests, but the demand became unmanageable. Eventually, Ranch hit Southwestern supermarkets and then traversed the nation, forcing the production of the heavenly liquid to be moved to a larger facility in Sparks, Nevada. Gone were the days of the home-style seasoning packets handed out to friends and neighbors to be mixed with buttermilk and mayo.
In 1972, Clorox bought Hidden Valley Ranch dressing for $8 million, and Kraft Foods and General Foods were quickly hit with lawsuits for trying to create their own Ranch varieties. While staving off copycats, Clorox was hard at work revamping the recipe to exclude expensive buttermilk and developing a pantry-friendly bottled version that required no refrigeration.
The varieties of Ranch and methods of consumption proliferated into the 1980s. Soon, Ranch lovers were snacking on Cool Ranch Doritos and Hidden Valley Ranch Wavy Lay’s chips, while children were given the option of taco or pizza-flavored Ranch dressings. Even dry Ranch-flavored seasoning was shaken on popcorn nationwide. Many companies, like Ken’s, Kraft, Newman’s Own, and Marie’s, threw their names into the Ranch ring since Hidden Valley originated the condiment, and we’re all the better off for it.
Ranch is one of the most popular and best-selling dressings in the United States and Canada and routinely rises above the salad from whence it came. With increasing levels of creativity, people are constantly innovating Ranch-centric dishes and concoctions – from adding it to fried vegetables to fried cheesecake (we’re not sure about that one). We think Ranch deserves all the credit it’s going to receive on this special day!