Welcome to Sounding Off, where writers have the chance to express their, ahem, unique thoughts on the food and drink world. These opinions belong to the writer, not Tasting Table.
I'm well aware I'm going to draw the ire and virtual pitchforks of Internet crusaders everywhere when I say what might be my very last words: Ranch dressing is the most awful condiment ever. If there's anything this notorious Washington Post op-ed piece—which brought every ranch zealot out of hiding—has taught us, it's that hating ranch dressing is like hating America. But for the sake of innocent pizza slices everywhere, I'm signing the proverbial petition against the stuff.
The problem is a bottle of ranch is a little too good at what it does. Pour the viscous horror over any food, and ranch massacres the flavor like Freddy Krueger. The last time I checked, pizza tasted perfectly fine on its own without needing to be covered in a slick of hydrogenated oil. And while ketchup's vinegary, sweet kick complements a crisp fry like a fine red dress, the slightest dip in ranch covers the same spud in an off-white muumuu of stale garlic and sour milk. No matter how many brands you try, it's just not possible to find one that doesn't overpower everything it touches in a shroud of rancid dairy.
I get it—sometimes we need a little help knocking back our daily serving of vegetables or doctoring up a bland iceberg wedge. But why not spring for some green goddess over the pungent combo of herbs and MSG in the bottled salad dressing? Instead, we're settling for the devil's hand lotion that's been hanging out in our refrigerator door for the past three months.
And, no, despite what advertising might tell you, ranch is definitely not "the new ketchup." We're not squeezing a bottle of Heinz all over our slices of Margherita pie or abusing any of the other condiments in inappropriate ways, like turning them into soda or selling them as fountains. So what makes it acceptable to drink in ranch dressing like a bottle of Gatorade after a CrossFit workout? If you insist on eating—or drinking—the stuff, the least you could do is make it yourself.