On Tuesday, The Washington Post went looking for trouble and found a whole lot of it when it ran an opinion piece titled "Ranch dressing is what's wrong with America."
The takedown, written by Ben Adler of the environmentalist site Grist, begins by decrying that "this revolting milk rot" we call ranch dressing is having "a moment," and then goes on to call America's favorite salad dressing "disgusting," a blasphemy to culinary common sense, and even a factor in climate change.
Adler particularly went after the notion of fancy chefs and at-home "cooks" alike putting ranch on top of foods such as French fries, onion rings, or pizza, saying the practice is "the culinary equivalent of setting your air conditioner to 62 degrees or driving a Hummer." He said it is "tacky, wrong," and "completely redundant, wildly unhealthy and disrespectful to any halfway decent pizza, the chef who made it and to the Italian people who gave it to us."
RECIPE: Homemade Ranch Dressing
But in trashing an iconic dressing, Adler bit off more than he can chew, even if what he was chewing was covered in unctuous buttermilk dressing. Unsurprisingly, ranch lovers everywhere—a large, passionate, and apparently bipartisan group of Americans—were seriously pissed. And they let Adler have it in the comments section.
"I think idiotic, snobbish and judgmental idiots like the writer are more responsible for what is wrong with America than ranch dressing is," one commenter wrote.
"OMG. Suck it, you over-indulged foodie that no one—I'm willing to bet—likes," Corvette1975 wrote, making it personal. "Ranch is great. And whining about the fact it's pretty much spoiled milk? Well, yeah—what cheese product DOESN'T have that to some extent?"
"Mr. Adler, you need to leave your overpriced NY apartment and learn about real life," Adreed opined.
But Morally Correct2 saw the deeper meaning in the ranch takedown.
"Judging from the comments, very few are picking up on the fact that this article is a deeply satirical depiction by analogy of the strongly held and totally silly opinions of most Trump supporters; rather like Samuel Butler's classic Erehwon."
RECIPE: Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings
Others, however, saw something even more sinister at work. "Go back to the Kremlin, Red," Kegasaurus wrote, though to be fair, Adler didn't go so far as to recommend Russian dressing. He did, however, put in a vote for blue cheese, another type of "milk rot."
But maybe some good will come of this ranch-dressing-hating screed. In an election season when the left and right are further apart and more loathsome to each other than ever, both heartland commenters and left-leaning Americans alike felt pride in and affection toward ranch dressing.
"Coming from an immigrant who moved here from Europe: Ranch dressing is one of the many things I love about America, especially on Buffalo hot wings!" user Run for Fun wrote. An untraditional pairing—blue cheese sauce is the rule of the road, naturally—but no judgment here.
The reaction to the piece, which also saw minority support from fellow ranch haters, was a truly inspiring commitment to ranch dressing from Americans of all walks of life.