Hot Wendig Sauce: A Recipe

That is pretty much the grossest blog title I have ever written.

But it’s done. It’s too late. I can’t delete it now.

(I can totally delete it. And yet, I don’t. What’s that say about me?)



Let’s talk about store-bought salad dressings.

Most of them are shitty.

Like, I don’t mean that they contain actual feces, I just mean — they’re kinda weak. They may in fact be where the phrase “weak sauce” comes from. A lot of store-bought things are weak, honestly, but the ability to buy them is so much easier than actually making them. That said, salad dressings do not fall into this category, because salad dressings are hella dopey easy to make. You could literally, while concussed from a cantankerous mule kick, while high on benzodiazepine, while blinded in one eye by a misting of cat urine, make salad dressing. It’s so easy, you’ll feel like an asshole for ever having procured salad dressing from the store.

Anyway, I wanted to make my own Russian dressing. Or Thousand Island dressing. I dunno why it shares those two names, and really, I’m too lazy to Google it, so I’m gonna go ahead and assume it’s similar to the “French Fries became ‘Freedom Fries'” thing — maybe we were mad at Russia because of the Cold War, and so we stopped marketing Russian dressing because who would ever buy Communist Red Sauce to put on their Fresh American Lettuce. Could be we called it “Thousand Island” because that’s what we were going to do to Mother Russia with our nuclear bombs — turn the big-ass country into a thousand little islands with big kaboom.

I don’t know and I don’t care.

You can call this what you want. Hot Wendig Dressing. Gulag Gravy. Putin Coulis. Zesty Vegetable Fluid Blanket. I’m happy to take suggestions in the comments below.

Point is, you want to make a dressing for your salad.

I’m going to tell you how to do that.

Take mayonnaise.

One cup of it.

No, not Miracle Whip. Don’t bring that nonsense up in my house. You know what Miracle Whip is? It’s emulsified diabetes. With sadness oil stirred in for extra sadness. It’s gross. Don’t use it. If you use Miracle Whip, then Flavor Jesus will come down from his restaurant in Heaven and burn your soul in the castigating fires of a George Foreman grill.

Miracle Whip. What is wrong with you?


You can make your own mayonnaise, but that really is one of those things I think it’s maybe easier to buy than make. Whatever. I like Duke’s. Your mileage may vary. (And now I fully expect you homemade mayo types to freak out in the comments about how easy it is — so, please do, I accept any and all mayo recipes you care to share, food nerds.)

One cup goes into a blender. Or into a receptacle where you can use one of those cool stick blenders. Note that I did not say “dick blender.” That is a whole different thing.

Did I mention I’ve been drinking?


*throws a jar of pickles at your head*

Wait, gimme those pickles back, we’re gonna need ’em.

Okay, so, like I said: one cup of mayo.

Then, four tablespoons of ketchup.

Then, one tablespoon of hot sauce. Your choice of hot sauce is your own — obviously, these days, Sriracha is quite popular on pretty much everything. I eat it on rice, hot dogs, hamburgers, pandas, street urchins. (Hey, jerk, don’t judge; street urchin is my favorite sushi.) Here, though, I might casually suggest Frank’s Hot Sauce. Because Frank’s.

One tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (which is pronounced WOOSHTERSHURESHEER SHASS). Also, if you did not realize this as apparently many do not, Worcestershire sauce is actually just fish sauce. Seriously. People blanch at using fish sauce in their Thai dishes but then liberally dose something else with this stuff? It’s fermented anchovies, people. At least it’s not fermented people, people. Because, really, people are gross.

Three peeled shallots.

You could do onion or garlic but just suck it up and go buy some shallots. Shallots are awesome because they’re what happens when onion and garlic have a baby.

Then 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika (sweet or hot).

The smoke is key because I said so.

Two tablespoons of sweet pickle relish. (Or, if you don’t have relish, but do have bread-and-butter sweet pickles, toss a rough equivalent into the mix.)

Pinch of salt.

Pinch of pepper.

Blend until… well, blended. What else would you do? Blend until the world ends? Blend until your house catches fire? BLEND UNTIL YOU STARVE TO DEATH, STANDING BY THE BLENDER LIKE A SAD HOUND WHOSE MASTER DIED AT WAR AND WILL NEVER RETURN HOME.

Just blend it up, for Chrissakes.

Then put it on your salad and eat it. Or just drink it if you’re one of those weirdo adults who are averse to vegetables. Though, point of fact, if you’re one of those weirdo adults who are averse to vegetables, you’re a dumb person. And probably unhealthy. Enjoy your scurvy and your rickets, your weak bones and your tumbling teeth. Vegetables are amazing when they’re cooked right and you need to grow up right now and learn to eat a fucking carrot once in a while.

Meat is awesome, too, but vegetables are just meat that grew in the ground.

Whatever. Enjoy the Hot Wendig Sauce.

Goes good on salads, burgers, pandas, and street urchins.


  • Dick blender? You know, I think the doctor I saw on Tuesday must have one of those.

    Because, you know the check-out form doctors give you that tells you what they did to you/diagnosed you with? On it was a category called SURGICAL DESTRUCTION, with several items underneath with check boxes. One of those items was “Penis.” The other was “Vulva.”

    Neither of those were checked for me. I got lucky.

    Unrelated: I love Miracle Whip.

  • russian dressing and thousand island aren’t the same. If yours are then one of them is made wrong!

  • I ALWAYS make my own salad dressings! And Duke’s mayo is my favorite. 🙂 However…like Carol said, Russian and Thousand Island are nothing alike. LOL

    Thanks for the recipe. It looks like a great Thousand Island recipe with a strong, hot kick. Yum!

    Btw, I don’t comment a lot, but I love reading your blog posts. They always crack me up.

  • Uh, real Russian dressing ( is smooth (NO pickle relish) and reddish (because ketchup) and authentic ( Thousand Island dressing is whiteish (because NO ketchup or chili sauce) and a little lumpy (because pickle relish)? Other than that only several of the ingredients are different. Heh. Never mind, your recipe sounds delicious! You should call it Wendig’s original authentic Russian Island dressing when you write your cookbook.

    • June 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM // Reply

      The Thousand Island dressing we buy in bottles here is orange. Definitely with tomato sauce in it (ketchup? what is ketchup?). Not whiteish. I’ve never heard of Russian dressing.

      And while we are on the subject, why do you ‘Muricans call a tomato-based pasta sauce with no seafood in it ‘Marinara’?? Marinara means ‘from the sea’. It need to have seafood in it!

      • It’s called that because it originated on Italian ships because it wouldn’t spoil during long sea voyages. I’ve been to Italy, and even when it’s specifically called marinara sauce (like in spaghetti alla marinara), it never has seafood in it. Actually, I’ve been to a lot of countries, and I’ve never seen plain marinara sauce with seafood in it, unless it’s like a pasta dish or something that includes seafood.

      • You can check out the original differences between Russian and Thousand Island if you look up the recipes (URLs given). Russian dressing is always reddish; Thousand Island may be if tomato pureé or ketchup is added at the discretion of the cook—in this case Mr. Wendig; in your bottled dressing it seems as well. I prefer the tomato-less version.

        As to “ketchup”, the following may help:

        Ketchup > From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        “Alternate names: Catsup, tomato sauce, red sauce. Main ingredients—Tomatoes, vinegar, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, seasonings.
        “Tomato ketchup is often used as a condiment with various dishes that are usually served hot, including chips/fries, hamburgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, eggs, and grilled or fried meat. Ketchup is sometimes used as a basis or ingredient for other sauces and dressings. Ketchup is also used as a flavour for things such as crisps/potato chips, this variety of crisps/chips is one of the most-popular flavors of them in Canada, and is quite popular in the UK, as well. They also recently have been offered in the US.”

  • I particularly favor the fact that, if you wrote this just before posting, you appear to be furiously drunk-blogging recipes at lunchtime on a Thursday. This is the kind of work ethic I can get behind, even though I prefer a good vinaigrette myself.

  • A great blog post, Chuck, as always. A slight correction in the pronunciation of Worcestershire is needed, imho. I’m English, and we say it thus: WUSS-TER-SHER.
    And now, I’m off to stuff my face and drink beer, because it’s my birthday 🙂

  • “Vegetables are just meat that grew in the ground.” Is my new favorite thing to say. We make our own dressing too. Or … As I taught my kids when they we little, we “eat our leaves” from the bag … Like giraffes do. Or they would, if they had fingers. Thanks for the awesomesauce.

  • I almost always make my own dressing. I do vinaigrette in a jar. Vinegar, pinch of salt, dash of pepper, dab of mustard, dab of honey, maybe a pinch of dried herbs or spices, and then at least as much oil as vinegar. Screw on the lid and shake. And yet when someone comes over for dinner and asks what kind of salad dressing I have and I say, “Hang on a minute, I’ll make it,” they look at me like I have three heads. Awesome-sounding recipe, though.

  • Speaking of people, and eating them, a coworker was spouting end-of-the-world-guv’mint-conspiracy-fear-mongering hullabaloo, and somehow it came around to secret food made of humans. I said “soylent green is people!” in my best Charlton Heston voice. They just said “What?” C’mon I’m the youngest person by ten years there and no one got it. Sad.

  • I love homemade mayo, but it’s made with raw eggs, so definitely not for something that might sit around a while before it gets used. Also, it would probably get lost in all of those other flavors – better to save it for a special occasion.

  • So there seems to be some disagreement about whether this is actually Russian or Thousand Island, or whether those two are even the same…Nomenclature aside, I think you should just call yours Wendig Island.

    I worked out this vinaigrette recipe years ago, and it’s become a favorite. Using the blender gives it a great consistency.

    Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

    3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 cup olive oil
    1 medium to large size garlic clove, crushed (or two cloves, if you really like garlic)
    1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried basil if fresh isn’t available)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    1.) In a blender, combine the vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Set blender on “stir” and slowly pour in the olive oil.

    2.) Add basil and push “stir” again for a few seconds (so you don’t vaporize the basil). The mixture should look like a chocolate milkshake.

    3.) Refrigerate for an hour or so before using.

    This is also very good as a marinade for portabella mushrooms.

    It will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator.

  • Worcestershire Sauce is not just fish sauce; it is fish sauce strained through the dreams of dying empire. This rounds out the umami of the decaying fish guts with the earth note of misplaced nostalgia.

  • That’s much more involved than my lazy-man’s homemade dressing: mayonnaise, milk, garlic & basil powder. Stir and tinker to desired consistency.

    Really, it’s for emergency purposes, when you don’t want to eat plain carrot sticks, but you also don’t want to put on pants to go to the grocery store.

  • I, too, rarely post but love reading your blogs. I nearly snarfed my green tea reading this one. Not that snarfing green tea is that awful. Not nearly as awful as snarfing a tuna fish sandwich. Now THAT is some serious painage (in the drainage). Anyway, I was surprised you didn’t get all particular about the brand of ketchup you use. The end product is only as good as the ingredients. Kind of like the team is only good as its weakest member or something like that. So, I recommend Simply Heinz. There’s probably better stuff out there but at least it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup and other crap in it. Right. There probably is other crap in there but it’s in such infinitesimal amounts, they don’t have to list it. Should be another section under “Ingredients” called “Nebulous Stuff”. ANYHOO… Homemade might be a better way to go, but if it’s anything like my grandmother used to make, you’re better off with Simply Heinz.

    And since I don’t post often, let me just say how much I enjoy your blog. I only follow three blogs regularly and yours is my favorite. It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂


    After three kids, this is what my life has come to.

  • June 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM // Reply

    Thousand Island is from an inn from the thousand island district in NY according to my hubby. Can’t take responsibility for correctness of info, but I’ll spout off anyway.

  • This is nice, and super-easy:
    2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
    2 tablespoons of olive oil
    2 tablespoons of lemon juice
    2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
    Mix together.
    Good with smoked salmon, amongst other things.

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