Italian Salad Dressing

So this recipe got me thinking. I didn’t hink much about it when I popped 2 bottles of Italian Salad Dressing into my shopping cart at the grocery store. I didn’t even think about it when I was pouring the dressing into bags (one for dinner, one for the freezer). I thought about it as I was washing out the bottles for recycling. I got 2 bottles of Kraft Free Zesty Italian. The label boasts that it is a fat free salad dressing, but in almost imperceptible lettering on the label, it says “See Nutritional Information for Sodium Content” the sheer imperceptibility of the lettering bothered me. This is one of the ways in which corporations comply with the letter of the law, but totally decimate the spirit of it. So I looked at the label. Zero, zero, zero, zero (all of which just means that there is less than 1 gram in 1 serving), and 480milligrams of sodium. Okay, I don’t know much about sodium intake, it’s not high on my list of things to watch out for, but should you be eating 20% of your total Daily Value in a mere 2 tablespoons of salad dressing? Oooh, and let’s see what’s in it:

water, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, contains less than 2% of dried garlic, soybean oil, garlic, modified food starch, xanthan gum, dried onions, dried red bell peppers, spice, yellow 5, yellow 6, with potassium sorbate and calcium disodium edta as perservatives

Hmmmmmm, I count that as 7 food items, 7 non-food items, and “spice” which I am not counting either way since I don’t know what it is. Now here’s what I think a REAL Italian salad dressing‘s ingredient list should look like:

salad oil, wine vinegar, salt, sugar, dried oregano, dry mustard, paprika, garlic clove

This salad dressing also contains (per 2 tablespoon serving, not 1/4 c. as the recipe states) 20 g Fat, 223 mg sodium, and some actual vitamins. It’s made with real food, no non-food ingredients, and probably tastes fantastic because it uses fresher ingredients.

But I could use powdered mix, you cry. Then I say, what is in that envelope you bought at the store? You say, I dunno . . . I say, looking at the box from my pantry and thinking I really got to get rid of this:

sugar, salt, sodium citrate, garlic*, onion*, spice, red bell pepper*, carrots*, xanthan gum, maltodextrin, parsley flakes, natural flavors, guar gum, and citric acid

Oh, and * means dried.

Duh.

We have 7 food ingredients (even though citric acid technically comes from food, it’s not something you can grow yourself, you know?), 5 non-food ingredients, and since I don’t know what “spice” is or “natural flavors” I don’t know whether it is real food or not. Can you make a mix using real food? Sure, I do it all the time. Here’s one I haven’t tried, but doesn’t it look yummy? And look, all food ingredients:

dry parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, celery seed, sesame seed

I think I may mix some of that up the next time I roast chicken in the crockpot.

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