May 1, 2018

Green Goddess Salad Dressing Peaks With 1970's Era Feminism

Back in the early 1970's, the feminist movement was newly-ascendant in the U.S.  At the time, the Equal Rights Amendment, which ultimately failed to secure sufficient votes to amend the U.S. Constitution (its tough to amend the Constitution, but that was the last serious attempt to amend the Constitution as of 2018), was being advanced by women of all types, led by American feminists.  Songs such as Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" topped the charts in 1972 (catch my post on that by visiting for more).

To capitalize on the feminist trend of that era, packaged goods makers did their own part.

For example, by the late 1970's, Procter & Gamble's laundry detergent brand managers introduced a new, stain-fighting liquid laundry detergent they called "ERA" (in all caps, the name, not coincidentally, was also the acronym of the amendment being advanced by feminists at the time).  That brand continued well into the 1980's.  As of 2018, Era remains available in a limited fashion (for example, in certain bigger stores, or it can be ordered online), its no longer featured in the end-aisle displays of supermarket shelves as of 2018 (end-aisles cost money).  In 2014, the Cincinnati Enquirer (the hometown newspaper of Procter & Gamble, which calls that city home) reported that the Era brand of detergent which had become a low-cost product since its initial heyday was potentially at risk of being cut, as the company was cutting many smaller labels with flat retail sales.  Era remains around today, but could go in future brand-management decisions at the company.

Enter Green Goddess Salad Dressing as a Mass-Marketed Consumer Product

Another consumer products manufacturer, in this case salad dressing maker Seven Seas (which was subsequently acquired by Kraft in 1987 -- Kraft acquired the Seven Seas brand of salad dressings that belonged to Anderson Clayton Foods, which was acquired by Quaker Oats, but antitrust regulators made them divest Seven Seas, and Kraft was the winning acquirer) produced a bottled version of a salad dressing known as "Green Goddess" salad dressing.  It was a green colored (for which it was named), garlicky-flavored salad dressing recipe that had several strong flavors (including vinegar, cilantro, tarragon and anchovy paste).

A 1973 television advertisement for Seven Seas salad dressing starring the 1950's-era cowboy Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans even mentions Green Goddess dressing in the dialogue.  That ad can be seen below, or by visiting

The origins of Green Goddess dressings are usually attributed to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco way back in 1923, when that hotel's executive chef Philip Roemer wanted to make something to for a banquet being held at the hotel to pay tribute to actor George Arliss and his hit play, "The Green Goddess".  He then concocted this dressing, which like the play, also became a hit.  As noted, the original version of the dressing contained anchovies, scallions, parsley, tarragon, mayonnaise, vinegar, and chives.  But it is considered to be a variation of a dressing that originated in France by a chef to Louis XIII who made a sauce called "au vert" (green sauce) which was traditionally served with green eel.  In 1948, the New York Times published a recipe for Green Goddess salad dressing that also included salty Worcestershire sauce. Later versions of the recipe have also included variations such as the addition of yogurt instead of mayonnaise, avocado and/or basil (both also green in color).  One version of that recipe can be seen at if you're interested.

Kraft still occasionally sells Green Goddess dressing under the Kraft label (and sometimes even under the Seven Seas label!), but within a matter of months after its late 1960's packaged food introduction fueled by feminism of the era, other salad dressing manufacturers had pretty quickly copied the Seven Seas version.

For example, Unilever's Wish-Bone salad dressing brand (itself acquired by CPC Best Foods from a Kansas City restaurateur back in 1958), for example, offered its own version.  Today, while bottled salad dressings are no longer quite as popular as they once were, (today, home cooks regularly try home-made dressing versions inspired by cable cooking show programs which have proven how home-made salad dressings are very easy to make and often taste better), bottled dressings still sell a lot for time-constrained consumers in need of flavors to dress their salads.  But basics including Italian, French, Ranch and others dominate supermarket shelves.  Unfortunately, Green Goddess dressing isn't quite as popular as it was in the seventies when modern-day feminism really began.

Just as we have seen with many original food recipes, today, there's a much more conscious effort to rehabilitate tasty-but-fattening recipes with leaner varieties (which in this case might omit fattening mayonnaise, for example).  However, the fundamental taste of a strongly-flavored (and colored) recipe made in a blender is likely to re-emerge as cooks seek something that is out-of-the-ordinary.  With its bold flavor, Green Goddess dressing is likely to re-emerge in one form or anther.

Annie's Homegrown (which was founded as a natural foods company in 1989), best known for selling organic products was itself sold to packaged food giant General Mills for $820 million back in 2014.  Nevertheless, General Mills also sells its own version of Green Goddess salad dressing under the Annie's Homegrown brand, although the brand has since been expanded to various other "Goddess" dressing varieties.  Oddly, General Mills' Annie's Homegrown Green Goddess salad dressing is less-green than Kraft's or even home made varieties, which defies the "green" in its name, as something closer to ranch dressing, although it has strong hints of Caesar salad dressing.

No comments: