Hidden Valley Ranch is an American success story. Created by contractor Steve Henson in 1950, it became a staple salad dressing when he and his wife opened the Hidden Valley Ranch dude ranch four years later. Over the next decade and a half their house recipe became so popular that they would sell the seasonings in packets to their visitors, and eventually moved to selling the dressing itself. Eventually they marketed it nationwide.
Over the years (and after a lucrative corporate buyout) the brand has expanded to include pre-made dips, prepared dinners, variant flavors and more, all with the distinctive Hidden Valley Ranch taste as its base. Other companies have come up with “Ranch style” dressings to compete.
The competition has been necessary. Ranch dressing is the most popular prepared salad dressing in the United States, beating out the next most popular (italian and Caesar) combined. In the style of popular items everywhere, the primary purveyor, Hidden Valley Ranch, has decided to promote a “National Ranch Day”, and that day is March 10th.
What are they using to celebrate this day? Why, a giant bottle of ranch dressing, of course.
The 24 foot tall bottle has been placed at New York, New York on the Vegas strip, and on Sunday, for one hour, HVR is going to dispense as much dressing as anyone wants, into whatever receptacle they happen to bring. It’s an event they admit was inspired by the successful 7-11 yearly “Bring your own cup” Slurpee promotion.
There will be other ranch-themed festivities, including games and taste tests of various recipes which use ranch as an ingredient. But the big draw will be to see what containers people bring for the 11 AM to 12 PM free dispensing.
Thankfully, this isn’t being done in one of the warmer Nevada months… I shudder to think what hundreds of gallons of ranch dressing would be like if hanging around for hours in 100 degree heat… but as much as I might enjoy the taste, I can’t help but think that something’s wrong about people wandering around with a five gallon bucket of salad dressing, already exposed to open air.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite condiment?