Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Krafty Revenge

 Ranch dressing was my go-to salad topper for many years, mostly because for more years than was reasonable I had the stunted palate of an untraveled seventeen-year-old. Ranch dressing, ranch Doritos, ranch-tinged French onion dip, etc. You get the idea. If there had ever been a ranch-flavored toothpaste, you can bet your sweet bippy I'd have given it a try.

In fact, the only negative ranch experience of my nearly fifty years came at the hands of my Mother-in-Law. You know those Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing commercials in which they tell you how delicious your mashed potatoes will taste if you mix in a packet of their dehydrated ranch particles? In reality it's a really bad idea, almost as bad as that one time I decided to shave my face while naked because I was in a hurry. Nothing teaches you not to do something stupid faster than spilling aftershave on your testicles. Well, my Mother-in-Law must have thought Hidden Valley was serious about the whole mashed potato experiment because she made a big heaping bowl of the mushy foulness and served it up with an otherwise perfectly good dinner. My Lovely Wife and I smiled politely through pained expressions while expressing our fondness for the concoction so as not to hurt her feelings. The following week she made them again: "I know how much you enjoyed these!"

Anyway, the potato fiasco aside, I did rely on ranch dressing the way some kids subsist by dousing everything with ketchup. If it was baked, boiled, broiled, browned or basted, I smothered it in ranchy goodness. Eventually, I began to realize there was an expansive world of flavor beneath the white stuff gooped on top and I administered my doses of ranch dressing less and less frequently until I finally kicked the habit. 

Every now and then I do like to break out the Kraft ranch for the occasional salad, or to dip wings into. Lately, however, there's been a recurring problem. You know that plastic bit at the top of the dressing bottle? The part that changes the vessel from a pouring container to a squeeze bottle? That bit has been messing with me. 

I add dressing to my salad and that bit is there. I put the cap back on. Then I realize, when approaching the bottom of the salad, that I need more dressing, so I unscrew the cap, flip the bottle over a give a big squeeze to see tablespoons of ranch dressing flow out like albino lava from an erupting volcano. Where was that plastic bit? It somehow managed to lodge itself in the bottle cap.

More recently, it seems, playing hide and seek isn't enough. My Lovely Wife and I were munching away at our salads over lunch the other day when all of a sudden I find myself trying to chew through the toughest crouton in the history of stale, toasted bread. Yup, that plastic bit must have tired of our little game and opted to go for the throat. 

I don't know if Kraft is trying to get even with me for my disloyalty, or for the fact kicking my bottle-a-day ranch habit resulted in a bleak financial crisis for the company, but it sure seems like it's getting personal.

© 2016 Mark Feggeler