Dressing is a term given to the mixture of seasonings and liquids such as oil and vinegar. Dressing is mainly used to provide flavor to any dish of salad or meat. It basically makes the plainest dish interesting. Dressing is also referred to any kind of sauce that is poured over salad or any savory dish to infuse aroma and flavor to the contents of the dish. There are a variety of dressings prepared across the nation. Some popular dressing recipes are French dressing, Thousand Island dressing and blue cheese dressing.


History of Dressing

The history of dressing is very old and it is popular since ancient times. Chinese and Babylonians have been using dressing recipes for approximately 5000 years ago. Egyptians and early Romans were also fond of sauces such as Worcestershire and herb sauces. But the entire scenario has changed when Americans have introduced some basic ingredients for making dressing recipes, in the twentieth century. At that time the use of oil, vinegar, herbs and lemon juice have been used for making various dressings. Since then various food companies have entered into this field and made dressing recipes a commercially sold product.


Culinary Use of Dressing

Dressings are a familiar component of salads and various savory dishes. Apart from being an integral part in salad dishes, dressings can be used as a spread or dips. Grilled dishes can be made with topping of different types of dressing. Pasta, meat dishes, seafood and vegetable dishes all can be made rich with dressing recipes. Soya sauce, vinegar, lime juice and herbs are some of the main ingredients that are used to make dressings. Cream and cheese also make nice ingredients for dressing recipes. Several baked dishes are also garnished with dressings prepared with the above mentioned ingredients. Soups and stews can also be made interesting with addition of suitable dressings.


Popular Dressing Recipes

Dressing recipes vary from cuisine to cuisine and region to region. Here are some famous dressings that are well-liked globally:

• Classic vinaigrette – This is one of the most common dressings usually used to make salads. It includes a balanced mixture of oil, vinegar, sugar and salt.

• Thousand Island dressing – This is a variation of popular Russian dressing. It includes eggs, mayonnaise, tomato sauce or Tabasco sauce as the main ingredients. It is a thick creamy dressing recipe.

• Caesar salad dressing - This dressing recipe includes raw egg and it also has thick and creamy texture.

• Roquefort dressing – It’s a cheese dressing and basically used to make salad topping.


Cuisines Commonly Making Dressing Recipes

French cuisine is famous for dressing recipes. It includes French vinaigrette dressing and Mayonnaise dressing. Salads and various meat dishes are made in French cuisine with vinaigrette dressing. Russian dressing is not only popular in Russian cuisine but popular in other cuisines as well. The creamy and rich texture of Russian dressing makes it a favorite ingredient in salads all over the world. American and Asian cuisines also make good use of vinegar, soya sauce, lemon juice and herbs to make interesting dressing recipes.


Methods of Making Dressings

Dressings are usually made without any heating method. Almost all dressing recipes include no-cooking methods such as:

• Blended – Ingredients of dressing are blended in a food processor to give a smooth texture.

• Mixed – Liquid ingredients and spices are mixed in a bowl to make a consistent dressing.

• Chopped – Some dressings include chopped ingredients such as garlic and onion. These ingredients should be finely chopped in order to make a perfect dressing.


Nutritive Value of Dressings

Usually, all dressings are heavy in terms of fats and calories. But if, cholesterol-free oils such as extra virgin olive oil and low-fat cheese and cream are used then dressing recipes can prove beneficial. Most of the salad oils contain high amount of vitamin E. Olive oil and peanut oil are useful sources of menstruated fats whereas walnut and sunflower oil contain polyunsaturated fats. Low-calorie dressings are also available that should be taken in order to reduce the calorie intake.


Consumption Criteria of Dressings

Commercial vinaigrettes and other salad dressings usually contain some kind of additives, raw egg and soya derivatives that may cause allergic reactions in some people. In order to avoid this, label should be checked or homemade dressing recipes should be used. Use of raw egg also has a danger of salmonella contamination; hence dressings should be consumed with extra care.


Buying and Storing of Dressing

With the increasing popularity of dressings, many food manufacturing companies have introduced bottled dressings. Here are few points that should be kept in mind while buying dressings:

• Always buy dressing from a trustworthy manufacturer in order to avoid health risks caused by raw ingredients.

• Check the label for the ingredients used. Also check the fat and calorie count on the label.

• Manufacturing date should always be checked before buying the dressing bottle.

• Store any dressing in refrigerator. Bottled dressings always contain preservatives hence can be stored for longer time.

• Homemade dressings should be consumed within few days of preparation.


Types of Dressing

There are three types of dressings used to make various dishes.

• Vinaigrette – This type dressing is particularly made up of vinegar, oil, lime juice, salt and sugar. Perfect blending is very necessary for this type of dressing.

• Creamy dressing – This variety has a cream or mayonnaise base. Yogurt, milk and cheese are some of the other ingredients that can be included in creamy dressing recipes.

• Cooked dressing – Few dressing recipes are prepared by light heating methods. Such recipes come under the category of cooked dressing.


Dressing Trivia

• The popular Ranch dressing was invented in a resort in California.

• Caesar salad dressing goes by this name because it is invented by Caesar Cardini, a Mexican restaurateur.