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Thousand Island dressing

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Title: Thousand Island dressing  
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Subject: Russian dressing, Salad, Fry sauce, Nat Bailey, List of salads
Collection: 19Th-Century Introductions, American Cuisine, Canadian Cuisine, Salad Dressings
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Thousand Island dressing

Thousand Island dressing
Thousand Island dressing on a salad
Type Salad dressing or condiment
Place of origin Canada and the United States
Main ingredients Mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, eggs, cream, chili sauce, tomato purée or ketchup
Cookbook: Thousand Island dressing 
Close-up view of Thousand Island dressing on a salad

Thousand Island dressing is a salad dressing and condiment based on mayonnaise and can include olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, cream, chili sauce, tomato purée, ketchup, or Tabasco sauce.[1][2]

It also typically contains finely chopped ingredients, which can include pickles, onions, bell peppers, green olives, hard-boiled egg, parsley, pimento, chives, garlic, or chopped nuts (such as walnuts or chestnuts).[3][4][5]


  • Origins 1
  • Uses 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


According to The Oxford Companion of Food and Drink, the dressing's name comes from the Boldt Castle between 1900 and 1904. Boldt, as proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, instructed the hotel's maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu in 1894.[7][9] A 1959 National Geographic article states, "Thousand Island Dressing was reportedly developed by Boldt's chef."[10] Despite claims that he was involved in the introduction of the salad dressing at the Waldorf, chef Tschirky did not mention the salad dressing in his famous cookbook that was published during the time period in question.[11]

When University of Wisconsin sociologist Michael Bell and his graduate students tried to untangle the origin story for Thousand Island dressing in 2010, they found that the story differed between the various villages and islands in the Thousand Islands region.[7] They also discovered the existence of a third origin story in which the original recipe was based upon French dressing, which is supported by a recipe published in the 11th edition of the The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1965).[7] Unfortunately, all of the claims appeared to be based upon oral traditions without a supporting written record.[7][12][13]

A few food writers also advance the claim that the dressing was invented by chef Theo Rooms of the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago during the same time period.[14][15][12] In any case, the food historians at the Food Timeline point out that the earliest print references to Thousand Island dressing do not appear until 1912 and that recipes for different versions of the dressing begin to show up shortly afterwards throughout the United States.[16]


Thousand island dressing used as a dip.

In the 1950s, Thousand Island dressing became a standard condiment, used on sandwiches and salads alike. It is widely used in fast-food restaurants and diners in America, where it is often referred to as "Special Sauce" or "Secret Sauce". An example of this is In-N-Out Burger's "Spread", served on their burgers and several "Secret Menu" items; despite its name, it is basically a variation of Thousand Island dressing.[17] Thousand Island dressing is also often used as an ingredient in a Reuben sandwich in place of Russian dressing.[18]

See also


  1. ^ Honberger, Maud Mitchell, ed. (1914). Tried Receipts of Pasadena. p. 41.   (Note: 2 different recipes are offered in this book)
  2. ^ Weaver, Louise Bennett; LeCron, Helen Cowles, eds. (1917). Thousand Island Dressing. A thousand ways to please a husband, with Bettina's best recipes (New York: Britton Publishing Company). p. 89.  
  3. ^ Grimes, Etta (May 1915). "Home Economics: Some choice recipes". The Oregon Countryman. p. 325.  
  4. ^ Woodland, Mrs. F.B. (1919). Hurlbut, Mrs. William D., ed. Stevenson Memorial Cook Book. Chicago: Sarah Hackett Stevenson Memorial Lodging House Association. p. 75.   (Note: 3 different recipes are offered in this book)
  5. ^ Hirtzler, Victor (1919). Thousand Island dressing, for salads. The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book (Chicago: The Hotel Monthly Press, John Willy, Inc.). p. 335.  
  6. ^ Smith, Andrew F., ed. (2007). The Oxford Companion of Food and Drink. Oxford University Press US. p. 514.  
  7. ^ a b c d e Stiles, Kaelyn; Altıok, Özlem; Bell, Michael M. (28 March 2010). "The ghosts of taste: food and the cultural politics of authenticity" (PDF). Agriculture and Human Values 28 (2): 225–236.  
  8. ^ McNeese, Tim (2005). The St. Lawrence River. Infobase Publishing. p. 113.  
  9. ^ """Thousand Island Dressing, Enjoyed around the world and... "Made in Clayton!. Thousand Islands Inn. Archived from the original on June 27, 2007. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  10. ^ Brown, Andrew H. (March 1959). "New St. Lawrence Seaway opens the Great Lakes to the world".  
  11. ^ Tschirky, Oscar (1896). The Cook Book by "Oscar" of the Waldorf. Chicago & New York: The Werner Company. 
  12. ^ a b Cazentre, Don (September 3, 2011). "Three versions of the origin of Thousand Island dressing".  
  13. ^ Smith, Susan W. (September 13, 2013). "Evidence found for the origin of the Thousand Island Dressing!". Thousand Islands Life. 
  14. ^ Parsons, Russ (August 25, 1994). "Salad : Unfashionable Dressings: Which Thousand Islands?".  
  15. ^ "Iceberg Lettuce with Thousand Island Dressing".  
  16. ^ Olver, Lynne (January 3, 2015). "Thousand Island dressing". The Food Timeline. 
  17. ^ J. Kenji López-Alt (July 23, 2010). "The Burger Lab: The Ins-n-Outs of an In-N-Out Double-Double, Animal-Style".  
  18. ^ DiSpirito, Rocco (2010). Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories. Random House. p. 75.  

External links

  • Thousand Islands: Thousand Islands Dressing early printed citations collected by Barry Popik
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