Classic Thousand Island Dressing is the perfect condiment for salads, a secret sauce for burgers, topping Ruben sandwiches, dipping your fries in, and so much more. It has a bold mystery history dating back to 1912 and possibly before.
It seems Thousand Island Dressing has quit the questionable background of history. When investigating my husband’s favorite salad dressing, I stumbled across four very mixed background stories and four very different people noted to have been the 1st to make this yummy condiment.
What did I find?
The Oxford Companion of Food and Drink claims, In the Thousand Islands area, one standard version of the dressing’s origins says that a fishing guide’s wife, Sophia LaLonde, made the condiment for her husband George’s dinner. In this version, actress May Irwin requested the recipe. Mary Irwin, in turn, gave it to another summer resident, George Boldt, who built Boldt Castle between 1900 and 1904. Boldt, the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, instructed the hotel’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu in about 1894.
A 1959 National Geographic article states, “Boldt’s chef created thousand Island Dressing.” Despite the earlier claims he was involved in introducing the salad dressing at the Waldorf, the chef failed to mention the salad dressing in his famous cookbook published during the period in question.
When students of the University of Wisconsin tried to investigate the origin story of Thousand Island dressing in 2010, they found that the story often varied depending on who they spoke to. They discovered a third story, where the original recipe was based upon French dressing, supported by a method published in the 11th edition of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook dated 1965.
A few food writers also claim that the Thousand islands dressing was invented by chef Theo Rooms of the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago at the same time. The food historians at the Food Timeline point out that the earliest print references to Thousand Island dressing do not appear until 1912.
You may all be thinking…
Where in the Sam Hell are the Thousand Islands located? The Thousand Islands are an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles downstream from Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario, the U.S. islands in the state of New York.
Which story is true? I wish I could tell you myself, I left more baffled then educated on the mysterious Thousand Island Dressing, that’s for sure. Like any vintage food background of a recipe, one will honestly never know which is the truth.
Classic Thousand Island Dressing
One hard-boiled egg, minced
Three cups of mayonnaise
Three tablespoons of organic ketchup
Three tablespoons of minced pimentos
Two tablespoons of minced green peppers
Two tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
Two tablespoons of minced onions
Three tablespoons heavy whipping cream, to thin dressing
A dash of paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste, optional
Place one hard-boiled egg in a large food processor, and pulse a few times to mince.
Add Three cups of Duke’s mayonnaise, three tablespoons of quality ketchup, three tablespoons of minced pimento, two tablespoons of minced green peppers, two tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, three tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, A dash of smoked paprika, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Pulse the food processor 3-4 times to combine ingredients.
Place in a non-reactive container with a tight-fitting lid and place in the refrigerator till ready for use.
Note: If appropriately stored, this should store safely for about 7 days.
Classic Thousand Island Dressing
- 1 large Hardboiled egg minced
- 3 cups Mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Organic Ketchup
- 3 tablespoons Minced Pimentos
- 2 tablespoons Minced Green Bell Peppers
- 2 tablespoons Sweet Pickle Relish
- 2 tablespoons Minced Onions
- 3 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream to thin dressing
- 1 dash Paprika
- Kosher Salt to own taste
- Freshly Ground Pepper optional
- Place 1 hard-boiled egg in a large food processor, pulse a few times to mince. Add 3 cups of Duke’s mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of quality ketchup, 3 tablespoons of minced pimento, 2 tablespoons of minced green peppers, 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, A dash of paprika, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Pulse food processor 3-4 times to combine ingredients.
- Place the dressing in a non-reactive container with tight-fitting lid and place in refrigerator until ready for use.
- Note: If stored properly this should store safely for about 7days.
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