Jump to content

Thousand Island dressing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thousand Island dressing
TypeSalad dressing or condiment
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateThousand Islands
Main ingredientsMayonnaise, tomato purée or ketchup, pickles
Food energy
(per serving)
370 calories per 100g / 111 per 2 teaspoons (30g)[citation needed] kcal

Thousand Island dressing is an American salad dressing and condiment based on mayonnaise and usually ketchup or tomato purée and chopped pickles; it can also include lemon juice, orange juice, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, cream, chili sauce, olive oil, and Tabasco sauce.[1][2] It also typically contains finely chopped ingredients, which can include onions, bell peppers, green olives, hard-boiled egg, parsley, pimento, chives, garlic, or chopped nuts (such as walnuts or chestnuts).[3][4][5]


The dressing's name comes from the Thousand Islands region, along the upper St. Lawrence River between the United States and Canada.[6] Within that region, one common version of the dressing's origin says that a fishing guide's wife, Sophia LaLonde, made the condiment as part of her husband George's shore dinner.[7] Often in this version, actress May Irwin requested the recipe after enjoying it.[8] Irwin, in turn, gave it to another. In another version of the story, George Boldt, who summered in the Thousand Islands, built Boldt Castle between 1900 and 1904, and was proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, instructed the hotel's maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu in 1894 after he forgot dressing on salads and improvised with ingredients on hand at the time.[7][9] According to a 1959 National Geographic article, "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, Tschirky did not mention it in his cookbook published during that period.[11]

When University of Wisconsin sociologist Michael Bell and his graduate students attempted to determine the origin of Thousand Island dressing in 2010, they found that the story differed among villages and islands in the Thousand Islands region.[7] They 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 Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1965).[7] All the claims appeared to be based upon oral traditions without supporting written records.[7][12][13]

According to Food & Wine magazine, the dressing was a traditional sauce from the late 19th century in the Thousand Islands region. The wealthy who visited the region carried bottles of the local sauce back to New York City, such as one variant found in Clayton, New York, called Sophia's Sauce, found at the local Herald Hotel run by innkeeper Sophia Lelonde.[14]

Some food writers claim that Theo Rooms, a chef at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, invented the dressing during the same period.[12][15][16] The earliest print reference to Thousand Island dressing was in 1912,[17] and recipes for different versions of the dressing begin to appear afterward throughout the U.S.[18]


Thousand Island dressing on a salad

Thousand Island dressing is widely used in fast-food restaurants and diners in the United States, where it is often called "special sauce" or "secret sauce". An example of this is In-N-Out Burger's "spread", served on burgers and several "secret menu" items; despite its name, it is a variation of Thousand Island dressing.[19] Thousand Island dressing is often used in Reuben sandwiches in lieu of Russian dressing.[20] McDonald's Big Mac sauce is a variation on Thousand Island dressing.[14]

Similar preparations[edit]

Rhode Island dressing (Rhode islandsås), introduced by the Swedish restaurateur Tore Wretman,[21][22] is similar to Thousand Island and very popular in Sweden. Its name is confusing, especially for foreigners, and its origin unclear, since the dressing has no relationship to Rhode Island and the name is not used for preparations outside Sweden.

In Germany, a similar salad dressing is called "American dressing".[23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Honberger, Maud Mitchell, ed. (1914). Tried Receipts of Pasadena. p. 41. OCLC 898435934. (Note: 2 different recipes are offered in this book)
  2. ^ Weaver, Louise Bennett; LeCron, Helen Cowles, eds. (1917). Thousand Island Dressing. New York: Britton Publishing Company. p. 89. OCLC 657073250. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Grimes, Etta (May 1915). "Home Economics: Some choice recipes". The Oregon Countryman. p. 325. OCLC 42327071.
  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. OCLC 679915543. (Note: 3 different recipes are offered in this book)
  5. ^ Hirtzler, Victor (1919). Thousand Island dressing, for salads. Chicago: The Hotel Monthly Press, John Willy, Inc. p. 335. OCLC 682274960. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Smith, Andrew F., ed. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford University Press US. p. 514. ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2. OCLC 71833329.
  7. ^ a b c d e Stiles, Kaelyn; Altıok, Özlem; Bell, Michael M. (March 28, 2010). "The ghosts of taste: food and the cultural politics of authenticity". Agriculture and Human Values. 28 (2): 225–236. doi:10.1007/s10460-010-9265-y. S2CID 144478103. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  8. ^ McNeese, Tim (2005). The St. Lawrence River. Infobase Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-7910-8245-4. OCLC 56591404.
  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". National Geographic Magazine. Vol. 115, no. 3. p. 336. Today, this dressing is still being served at Oscar's in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel
  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". Syracuse Post-Standard.
  13. ^ Smith, Susan W. (September 13, 2013). "Evidence found for the origin of the Thousand Island Dressing!". Thousand Islands Life.
  14. ^ a b Matt Blitz (June 22, 2017). "Who Invented Thousand Island Dressing?". Food & Wine.
  15. ^ Parsons, Russ (August 25, 1994). "Salad : Unfashionable Dressings: Which Thousand Islands?". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ "Iceberg Lettuce with Thousand Island Dressing". Saveur. May 7, 2007.
  17. ^ "Thousand Island Dressing". Coast Beacon (Pass Christian, Mississippi). December 28, 1912. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com. Take one cup mayonnaise dressing, mix with one-half cup whipped cream, add small amount of tarragon vinegar, one-half teaspoonful of Imperial sauce, then chop one hard boiled egg, one green pepper, one pimento, one pinch chives, mix well together and squeeze the juice of one lemon before serving.
  18. ^ Olver, Lynne (January 3, 2015). "Thousand Island dressing". The Food Timeline.
  19. ^ López-Alt, J. Kenji (July 23, 2010). "The Burger Lab: The Ins-n-Outs of an In-N-Out Double-Double, Animal-Style". Serious Eats. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  20. ^ DiSpirito, Rocco (2010). Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories. Random House. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-345-52090-6. OCLC 851387051.
  21. ^ "1900-talets viktigaste matprofil i Sverige" [The most important food profile of the 20th century in Sweden] (in Swedish). Sveriges radio. October 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Larsson, Håkan. "Bästa såserna till skaldjuren och en lättgjord äppelpaj" [The best sauces for the seafood and an easy-to-make apple pie] (in Swedish). Sveriges television. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019.
  23. ^ Kochbuch, Marions. "American Dressing". Marions Kochbuch. Folkert Knieper. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  24. ^ Meena, Ava (January 29, 2016). "American Food According to Germany". My Meena Life. Retrieved August 7, 2018.

External links[edit]