I started my first job at a restaurant when I was seventeen years old. It was a hostess position at the Rosemary Cafe, a diner-type establishment a few blocks away from my house in Denver, Colorado.
The job was simple enough; seat people, work the register and take to-go orders. When taking a to-go order one must know that every dinner entree comes with a side salad. If someone were to order the meatloaf, for example, I would ask, “What kind of dressing do you want on your salad?” and 98% of the time I could count on the response being a hasty “RANCH.”
Every now and again, though, someone might ask me what kind of dressing we served, and I would have to list all the dressings; ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard, french, italian, greek, and thousand island.
I knew nothing about thousand island, besides that it was a pale, salmon colored dressing with a creamy consistency. That is, I knew nothing until August of 2019, in my final weeks at the Rosemary Cafe, before heading back up to Henniker for my sophomore year.
I was having a conversation with my boss about our dressings, because I knew that we proudly served ranch that was made in house, but I was curious to find out if any of our other dressings were made in house as well. My boss informed me that all the dressings were made in house.
“Even the thousand island?” I asked, not knowing what was in thousand island dressing and assuming it was some fancy concoction of gourmet ingredients that gave it such an interesting color.
My boss looked back at me with confusion, “Well yeah,” she said, “it’s only ketchup and mayonnaise, after all.”
It was upon hearing this new information, something inside me broke. No, something inside me shattered into a million dangerously sharp pieces, shredding to bits any faith I once had in humanity, leaving me shrouded in darkness.
To get technical, ketchup and mayonnaise does not make thousand island dressing, it actually creates what would be referred to as a “Russian Dressing,” which contrary to what the title may lead you to believe, was actually made in Nashua, New Hampshire. Thousand Island Dressing, usually also includes pickle relish, which in my opinion, only adds to the gross factor.
Though, I do not take issue with people mixing ketchup and mayonnaise and putting it on a sandwich, or using it as “Fry Sauce” or what have you. That is acceptable. Even though I would never do such a thing myself, I am the girl who mixes honey mustard and Tabasco sauce together for her fries, so I am in no position to judge. The problem lies in the principle of putting ketchup and mayonnaise on a salad.
I disagree with the concept of Thousand Island dressing on salads on a deep, moral level. A salad (the kind with lettuce and such), is in essence relatively healthy and to take something as pure and innocent as a salad and bastardize it by coating it in ketchup and mayonnaise is, if you ask me, a crime.
In an ideal world, the consumption of Thousand Island dressing would be punishable by law, with at least a fine of fifty dollars for every salad consumed, or preferably around thirty days of jail time for the culprit to really think about what they have done.
Which brings me to my next point: Taking responsibility. I am taking a stand. I refuse to call this cursed substance anything other than what it is. I will not have these euphemisms, this propaganda, forced on me any longer. As a society, we must hold those consuming this accountable. They are not eating Thousand Island or Russian Dressing, they are not eating Fry Sauce. They are eating May-Chep, and that is what I will be calling it from this day forward.
While I have taken time to formulate these very strong opinions about May-Chep dressing in these past few months, I had never in my life consciously consumed it. I decided, in writing this piece, that for the sake of journalism I would consume a salad topped with May-Chep Dressing, and maybe, just maybe, if the taste was pleasant enough to outweigh the intrinsic blasphemy, I would be dissuaded from telling the world about my pure red hot hatred from the sauce. Hence, I once again asked a favor of my friends in the kitchen of the Country Spirit Restaurant and Tavern.
On Tuesday night, just before the kitchen was to close, I found my manager and told her that I needed to purchase an awful, terrible salad before the end of my shift. “Okay,” she said, then told me to put in the order.
If I were a coward, I could have simply ordered a regular side garden salad to-go and chosen the May-Chep as my dressing option. If I had done this then I would have received the salad plain, with the May-Chep in a plastic ramekin on the side, so that I might be able to pour the dressing onto the salad at my discretion. I am many things, but a coward I am not, and because I am not a coward I requested that my salad be tossed in May-Chep, so that every leaf, every pepper, tomato and crouton would be thoroughly coated in salmony-pink gew. I wanted the full experience.
After going through the ordeal of eating the salad, I can conclude that May-Chep is, in fact, totally and absolutely horrible and bad, and I maintain that it should be expelled from existence. My mind will not be changed, and if ever there is a day which I am seen consuming the substance, do assume that that is not me and actually some repulsive alien-body snatcher.