You know the basic dressings: ranch, French, Italian. But what about the mysterious Thousand Island? This delicious dressing is a common accessory to salads and sandwiches, but what is Thousand Island dressing?

In short, Thousand Island is a mayonnaise-based dressing, flavored with tomatoes, vinegar, and relish. Some recipes call for olives, a few throw in garlic, and some even mix in orange juice. But no matter the ingredient variations, each type of Thousand Island is tangy and zesty.

Thousand Island's Origins

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Nicole Albanese

This savory sauce isn't just rich in flavor, but rich in history as well. Rumor has it that the dressing originated in the Thousand Islands, a region between the US and Canada on the St. Lawrence River. 

Many boat guides in the Thousand Islands claim the dressing was created for George Boldt and his wife, Louise. Supposedly, the couple was spending time on their yacht when their stomachs began to rumble. The pair's chef planned to serve salads for lunch but forgot to bring a dressing to top the greens. The chef improvised and mixed mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce, and a hard-boiled egg together  to create the first ever Thousand Island dressing.

Others claim the recipe was created by Sophia Lelonde, owner of the Thousand Islands Inn in Clayton, New York. Legend says she created a mouthwatering garnish she served up to her husband George and local fishermen. Eventually, famous actress May Irwin sampled it and later shared the recipe with her good friends George and Louise Boldt.

No matter where the dressing comes from, it's definitely a staple in the culinary world today. Thousand Island dressing is featured on dozens of sandwiches, including the classic Reuben, and on various salads. While it may not be the lowest-calorie option, Thousand Island dressing is seriously good and is something you can easily whip up at home.