Nominees for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award — Steve Henson


We here at JPGB are proud to announce nominees for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award.  The award is meant to honor a person who has made a significant contribution to improving the human condition. 

The criteria of the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award can be summarized by quoting our original blog post in which we sang the praises of Al Copeland and all that he did for humanity:

Al Copeland  may not have done the most to benefit humanity, but he certainly did more than many people who receive such awards.  Chicago gave Bill Ayers their Citizen of the Year award in 1997.  And the Nobel Peace Prize has too often gone to a motley crew including unrepentant terrorist, Yassir Arafat, and fictional autobiography writer, Rigoberta Menchu.   Local humanitarian awards tend to go to hack politicians or community activists.  From all these award recipients you might think that a humanitarian was someone who stopped throwing bombs… or who you hoped would picket, tax, regulate, or imprison someone else.

Al Copeland never threatened to bomb, picket, tax, regulate, or imprison anyone.  By that standard alone he would be much more of a humanitarian.  But Al Copeland did even more — he gave us spicy chicken.”

With that introduction, I would like to present the following nominee for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award — Steve Henson, the inventor of ranch dressing.

Brian Kisida has submitted this nomination with the following support:

Like the man who the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award is named after, this year’s first nominee has also benefited humanity by stimulating our taste-buds.

The first nominee for 2009 is: The creator of ranch dressing, Steve Henson!  

Steve and Gayle Henson opened the horseback-riding tourist attraction Hidden Valley Ranch in Santa Barbara, California in 1954.  One of the things guests at the ranch enjoyed was a special salad dressing Steve developed, and soon visitors were being sent home with to-go bottles of the tasty goodness we have all come to love.  After starting a side business for the sole purpose of manufacturing his invention, Steve sold the recipe to Clorox for $8 million in 1972.  At this time Hidden Valley Ranch was nothing more than a packet of seasoning that consumers had to mix with mayonnaise and buttermilk.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that a non-refrigerated formula hit grocery store shelves in bottle form, and by 1987 the emergence of Cool Ranch Doritos signaled just how far Steve’s recipe had come.  In 1992, ranch overtook Italian and remains the nation’s top-selling salad dressing.

Today, ranch dressing is not only the most popular salad dressing, its pervasiveness as an all around condiment is nearly unmatched.  It’s splendid as a dip for fresh vegetables, fried vegetables, French-fries, and chicken-wings.  And it’s not uncommon for ranch to add some zing to baked potatoes, hamburgers, and even pizza.  In fact, I dare you to think of something that isn’t better with ranch.

Thank you Steve Henson, for the gift you have given to all of humanity. 

(edited for clarity)

2 Responses to Nominees for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award — Steve Henson

  1. Matthewladner says:

    Cool Ranch Doritos makes Steve Henson a contender by itself.

  2. […] to Debrilla Ratchford, inventor of the rolling suitcase. The lineup of nominees that year included Steve Henson, inventor of ranch dressing, and Fasi Zaka, a Pakistani talk show host who makes fun of the […]

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

%d bloggers like this: