In Defense of Russian Dressing: the Most Democratic of Condiments


America is a nation of immigrants, sometimes referred to as a melting pot, due to all of the cultures and ethnicities from around the world who make this country their home. To me, that is one of the great things about the United States.

Just as people coming to live together, so too do condiments. Mayonnaise is believed to have been invented on the Spanish Balearic Islands. How they ate mayo without refrigeration is another story.

Something that originated over a thousand years ago on another continent has now become as American as apple pie. An American flag dipped in mayonnaise would not be out of place next to the bald eagle as a national symbol.

Dipping an American flag in mayonnaise is protected as free speech under the 1st Amendment, and upheld by Texas v. Johnson 1989. So dunk away! Its what the founders would have wanted.

The same goes for ketchup who, like many immigrants, came to this country from China, where it was invented in the 17th century.  Just as many Chinese immigrants who came to this country, ketchup also came to America to seek out a better life.

As a child I would eat pasta many nights for dinner. It became my favorite meal because pasta is a blank canvas; it can be whatever you want it to be.  You can put anything on it and that’s what it becomes. Sometimes I would put cheese on my pasta, but my favorite was to put ketchup and mayonnaise on my steaming hot pasta and combine it to make Russian dressing. Many nights I had no desire to eat pasta, but I would because it was just a vehicle to ingest Russian dressing.

Paint your pasta art on the blank canvas of your dinner.

Even as an adult, while I absolutely adore mayonnaise, Russian dressing holds a special place in my heart. Anytime I make burgers I always pull out a bowl and make a fresh batch of Russian dressing. I squeeze a healthy amount of Hellmanns mayonnaise into the bowl, and then squirt Heinz ketchup until I have completely covered the mayonnaise. Finally, mixing until beautifully pink, I take a few licks to make sure I have made the perfect concoction. After the burgers have been eaten I always save my Russian dressing to dip Doritos in.

In these divisive times, I think it’s important to realize the value of Russian dressing. We have two completely different condiments; mayonnaise from Europe with a very savory taste, and ketchup from Asia, bright red and very sweet. They couldn’t be more different, but when mixed together they taste even better than they do alone. Just like our society, when we come together all races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities we are much better. Some people would have you believe that putting together different condiments is wrong and shouldn’t happen, but this country works best when we all accept each other and live in peace with our neighbors, just like ketchup and mayonnaise.

Our flag consists of 13 red and white stripes, and while some say they represent the original 13 colonies, I feel the symbolism works much better if you view them as representative of ketchup and mayonnaise. Had the founding fathers tasted Russian dressing, I believe they would have agreed too. God Bless America and God Bless Russian dressing.

There’s something in there about mayo if you read it closely enough…probably.


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