All About the Sauce


Ashton Seymore

Ranch: an underrated, under-appreciated, under-used condiment.

“I put ranch on pizza.”

A phrase that can cause a lunch table to erupt in a heated debate about the best condiments and the foods they belong with.

I was sitting in the Pit with some friends. Before I knew it, all 10 of us were shouting our best food opinions and cravings. However, when I exclaimed my stance of putting my favorite sauce, ranch, on any food that is edible, every head at the table turned. This moment is when I learned the cold hard truth that comes with speaking your mind.

Ranch was created by a former plumber and cowboy named Steve Henson. Henson lived in a remote Alaskan climate where fresh ingredients were hard to come by, so he made a dressing out of dry and powdered contents: buttermilk, spices, herbs, garlic, and onion.

Later in his life, he transformed a house in southern California into a hotel and restaurant named Hidden Valley, which is the root of the world-famous ranch brand we all know and love today.

When you ask most people what their favorite condiment is, they usually (and wrongly) say it’s ketchup. Since I was old enough to speak, this take absolutely appalled me. I think it’s sad that people’s default answer is the most popular sauce, causing them to overlook the tastiest, and by my standard, the best sauce.

Growing up is realizing that the sauce that you use to push to the side of your wing plate along with the carrots and celery is actually a very well-rounded sauce. And as a former ranch-hater myself, I regret the meals I’ve eaten without the perfect addition of buttermilk-based sauce every single day of my life. Ranch is now widely known as the gateway sauce for picky eaters to push past their taste palette’s limits.

“I think ranch can definitely go on a lot of things like vegetables and wings, but I draw the line at pizza and fries,” senior Nisa Ahmed said. This opinion demonstrates a fundamental stereotype about ranch created by its constant addition to vegetable plates and appearances in carrot packages.

“The texture is bad. The taste is bad. Everything about it is bad,” sophomore Grayson Anderson said. Another negative opinion, but less surprising as it comes from a relatively younger person; sophomores are more susceptible to following the crowd. The unfortunate truth is that there is a negative stigma around ranch, limiting the amount and types of foods that it can mingle with.

While ranch obviously goes perfectly with almost every vegetable on the planet, its mild and balanced flavor also makes it so that when it’s paired with bold and intense foods, it serves as a palette cleanser. The scientific reason ranch dulls spicy foods is that it contains a protein called casein. Because of casein, when you cover your hot foods in sizable amounts of ranch, the potent flavors are washed away.

Anytime I’m scrolling through Instagram Reels and I see a food video, the sauce that goes along with the dish is almost always ranch. Ranch has a prevalent social media presence, as a lot of people like to share their own personal recipes online. These videos even inspired me to take a stab at my own homemade ranch with air-fried salmon bites.

My mom and I whipped together mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, chives, sour cream, buttermilk, and parsley to create our own little wrinkle of the sauce. Throughout the cooking process, I ended up convincing my mom that it should be considered a household sauce that belongs in the fridge at all times.

While some people may dismiss ranch as just a salad dressing confined to carrot baskets, the sauce’s adaptability and compatibility disproves this argument. Ranch is not just a sauce. It is a kitchen culinary chameleon that complements any dish it is paired with.