When we talk about salads, we generally tend to visualise a holistic modern way of living, with measured intake of calories and a general health-conscious manner of enjoying food. But surprisingly, the repository of the world’s innumerable and distinctive salad preparations dates back to 1st century CE Greco-Roman period, that layered raw vegetables and drizzled vinegar, oil, and herbs on top to create the first salad ever consumed by mankind.
It is believed that the artistic transformations and revivalist culture of the European Renaissance were the historical impetus behind the birth of modern salads. One of the forerunners in this category of healthy yet flavourful eating is the Bacon Ranch Salad, an authentic American innovation that has today found fans all across the globe.
To make a traditional bowl of the Bacon Ranch Salad, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, crispy and crumbled bacon slices, cheddar cheese, and fat-free milk are tossed in a mixture of light ranch salad dressing and southwest chipotle seasoning. The dish takes hardly ten minutes to prepare, pairs best with wheat crackers, and supplies a tremendous dose of fibres and nutrients, without compromising a bit on the quotient of taste. The 18th century European dish Salmagundi bears the closest resemblance to the Bacon Ranch Salad recipe of today.
The typical taste of the Bacon Ranch Salad comes from the use of Ranch dressing, an American salad dressing made from buttermilk, salt, garlic, mustard, herbs, and spices mixed into an oil emulsion like mayonnaise. It is believed that the Ranch dressing was invented by Steve Henson, a plumbing contractor from Nebraska, who moved to the remote Alaskan bush with his wife in 1949. The initial critics of Henson’s dressing were his crew members, but when he moved again to Santa Barbara in California and founded the Hidden Valley Ranch, the dressing became a mandatory inclusion in the ranch kitchen menu, lending it the name of Ranch Dressing, and was consequently made into a packaged mix available in local stores.
Henson incorporated the Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products in the 1970s and soon similar dressings were made by other companies, making Ranch dressing a runaway US hit. Riding on its growing popularity, the Ranch dressing became America’s favourite salad dressing, surpassing its Italian counterpart, in 1992 and the Bacon Ranch Salad became one of the most enjoyed salads in American culture.