Choosy Coots Choose Roquefort


When I waited tables twenty years ago, I constantly had to ask which salad dressing customers would prefer.  In Texas, Ranch is king, and not just because of the nearby King Ranch, a ranch made up of 825,000 acres (3,340 km).  For a while in the 1990s, Honey Mustard was quite a little trendsetter.  But it always comes back to Ranch.  In this city, there are always Balsamic Vinaigrettes and Jalapeno Cilantro Buttermilks to tempt your palate   But people who eat Wonder Bread and vanilla ice cream and order cheese pizza will almost always choose Ranch.

Except old people.  Old people LOOOOOVE themselves some Roquefort.  The “blue hair” crowd that goes to matinees, the ones at IHOP at 5am and at Luby’s at 4pm, ladies with tight poodledog hairdos in sensible shoes and highwaisted elasticized pants–they like Roquefort.  I don’t mean senior newbies who just started collecting Social Security checks.  I’m talking the greatest generation, the ones disappearing at every breath.

And don’t second guess them; don’t clarify, “blue cheese?”  Blue cheese is what you dunk chicken wings in.  “Blue cheese” is not old school.  Roquefort is.  Roquefort is jitterbugging and Andy Hardy films.  Let them be who they are.

I don’t care if you’re a vinegar & oil or a Zesty Italian person,  I don’t judge.  Okay, I don’t often judge.  That is, I always judge.  Nonstop.  And although I can deal with Thousand Island, it does not lend itself to drizzling.  Now that I think about it, we used to offer French as well, but nobody offers it any more.  I wonder if it has gone the way of the woolly mammoth.  Of course, this could all be a regional thing.  Maybe some of you live in countries where French dressing reigns supreme.  Surely not in France?

In any event, DO NOT invite me to dinner without assessing your salad dressing selection.  I don’t need a wide array from which to choose.  What I need is a fresh salad dressing.  I don’t mean one that you whipped up from some Food Network recipe, with your own Greek yogurt and garden basil.  No, I mean current.  I mean made THIS YEAR.  I mean NOT EXPIRED.

Maybe you’re not an expiration Nazi.  Perhaps it’s never even occurred to you to CHECK the date on the lid, plain as day, put there for a reason to protect you from tuberculosis and polio, caused by rancid dressing.  If that is you, then enjoy your childish naivete   Because I  PUH-ROMISE you that the very next home you go to for dinner, whether it’s Grandma’s or Cousin Kim’s or the cheery abodes of co-workers or friends, they will have an expired dressing on their table.  And that is the downfall of civilization.

The last time I attended a birthday celebration for a co-worker at a nice home, with an enormously garish centerpiece, nice stemware, and table settings, the salad dressing had expired.  I don’t mean last month expired.  I mean 2011 expired.  Oh, yes.  And that is not the worst offender.  I have attended holiday meals wherein dressings nigh on half a decade old were proffered for my taking.  Presidents had been sworn in, sworn at, and sworn out since this bottle had rolled off the assembly line.

If you would never deign to serve me spoiled milk or festering pork, then you shouldn’t offer me expired salad dressing.  If it’s two months expired, I will hold my sanity together and gulp it down, praying to the Lord to spare me both jaundice and yellow fever.  But if I wind up in the emergency room, it’s on your hands.

And can I just remind you that dressing is about $1.50?  Unless you’re all uppity and enjoy getting swindled, you should not be laying down a five spot for dressing.  Tell you what, I’ll do you a solid and spot you THREE dollars just so that you can go purchase two dressings of your choice.  And I’ll be a good sport and consume it.  Even if it’s poppyseed.


Somebody is going off on a tangent.

So what about other dressings? Years ago, when customers would request Vinegar & Oil, it never came ON the salad, like all the other choices.  No, we had to trot out those two little glass bottles that took up a lot of table real estate.  I couldn’t understand why a person would choose such a flavorless dressing.  But now that I’ve entered my forties, I get it.  Not because I prefer it, but because it’s a healthier option.  It’s possible that as my eyelashes turn grey and chin hairs come in, I may feel an overwhelming urge to eat Roquefort.  Until then, remember the immortal words of Mark Hamill, “Acting in ‘Star Wars’ I felt like a raisin in a giant fruit salad, and I didn’t even know who the cantaloupes were.”  Damn, if this isn’t a perfect quote for a site called “I Don’t Get It,” I don’t know what is.

16 thoughts on “Choosy Coots Choose Roquefort

  1. What is your take on expired mustard, ketchup, relish and steak sauce?? Also, where in the world do you find salad dressing for $1.50?


    1. We shop at the main grocery store in Texas, which is H.E.B., and many dressings there are between $1 and $2. Have I plunked down $4 for a superior one? Yes. I’m probably OCD w/ anything I put in my mouth, so I toss everything as soon as it’s expired. I realize most people don’t. The one thing that chaps my hide is bread: it’s “best buy” date is ALWAYS within a day or two when I buy it, no matter what brand, no matter what day.


      1. Ah-ha! Texas, that explains it. Up here in the city nothing in a grocery store is that cheap. I was curious if this was a salad dressing compulsion. I’m with you on expiration dates – sadly I had to empty out a carton of milk I purchase two days earlier the other day.


      2. A 2500 sq ft home here is under $200K, and I’m sure my uncle in DC would tell me homes are much higher there, and incomes much higher as well, which jacks up the price of your Italian dsg. How did the milk go bad that quickly? I think I would go stand in the customer service line to get my $ back, and then you could write a post about the crazy lady in front of you, returning a 30 cent lime.


      3. True on income and expense of living. Considering I work in DC real estate I could only laugh at your statement about a 2500 sq ft single family home for under 200k. The milk had been sitting on the shelf so long, and I didn’t check the expiration date. The $3.06 isn’t worth the time, but yes some fun entertainment to write about surely.


  2. Salad dressing doesn’t last long enough to expire in my house. Now I can guarantee that no matter how long I live, I’ll never, ever, request Roquefort dressing. It tastes like old socks to me. This was so funny! I loved it..and I do get my dressings for a buck. Newman’s is out of sight in price at our stores so Sav-a-lot is my new home of choice on a limited budget!


    1. Newman’s is under $3 here, but my splurge is Cardini’s Caesar. I don’t love Kraft; is that what’s a buck? We don’t have a Sav-A-Lot; wish we did!


  3. I have loved all bleu cheeses since a young guy,and I think Roquefort is king. I retired from the restaurant business about 4 years ago and Roquefort seems to have lost favor over the years;possibly due to cost. Hell I can’t afford it,I have to rely on Stella. Don’t have much of a taste for creamy dressing;prefer vinaigrettes. My ideal salad is Spring mix with grape tomatoes, Roquefort or some other bleu cheese crumbles with oil and vinegar and maybe a touch of dijon mustard to hold it together. Since I like Roquefort I must be a coot. But since I like it naked, not suspended in some white gunk maybe I’m a semi-coot. Really enjoy your blog. Always entertaining. Thanks for sharing your pearls of wisdom.


    1. As a semi-coot w/ restaurant experience, perhaps you can explain the allure of Roquefort, and how it differs from a simple blue cheese, if it does. Is it the texture you enjoy? Because I like feta and goat cheese crumbles, but they are not mold. I wonder if Yankees eat more blue cheese? And you know you can’t type the word Stella w/out your reader yelling it like Brando. It’s impossible.


      1. Ah the allure of Roquefort. Where do I begin. You’re right it is more than just the texture. Its that slightly bitter almost “rotten” taste and aroma that I find so damn appealing. I have never tried to describe the flavor of bleu cheese before. Ain’t easy. In my opinion Roquefort has the bleuest taste of all. So in summation I guess I like it because it tastes and smells like something no human should put in his or her’s mouth. Interesting. STELLA- I can’t help but grin when I write that word. Because you’re right the reader is forced to yell like Brando. The same with the name WILMA.


  4. An old post, I can tell, because salad dressings–even the bad ones–are upwards of $3 where I am. But here’s the solution: make your own. Easy as pie (easier really because pies are hard) and then you know exactly what’s in them (no sunscreen) and also you can make what you need. Roquefort, if you’d like, or oil-and-vinegar. Even French. (Have you seen Better Off Dead?) Save those extra pennies to buy more vintage yearbooks 🙂


    1. Of course; John Cusack was in it. You’re going to get me all chef-y, aren’t you, whipping up salad dressings? I have clipped recipes that I glued into my recipe book of dressings to make, but it’s soooo much easier to squeeze a bottle. I guess you’re right. You’re always right. And thanks for reading this crazy long post. But wouldn’t it be rude to show up at someone’s place with my own dressing?


      1. yes, so guess you have to swallow what’s served. Then again, maybe you need friends with better salad dressing judgement? (haha just kidding) Making dressings is too easy not to and tastes so much better. Though my kids still prefer bottled Ranch to my DIY. Arrrgh.

        The Frahnch dressing scene? Frahnch fries? Love that movie. Did you like? It’s horrible, really. But cracks me up.

        And you’re wrong, I am not always right.


Observation and Interpretation:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s