If you asked me to tell you I grew up in Nebraska, without telling you I grew up in Nebraska, I would answer that I have a Dorothy Lynch Dad.

If you don’t know what Dorothy Lynch is, let me break it down for you non-Huskers.

Dorothy Lynch Dressing: From Homemade Staple To Nebraska's Iconic Flavor

Growing up my mom tried her best to get the family to eat vegetables. Anything green. Anything that came out of the ground. Some sort of plant to go with the meat. Anything.

So we often had salads. I didn’t appreciate them at the time. But we did have Ranch dressing, so that helped.

Along with Ranch on the dinner table, was an ever-present bottle of Dorothy Lynch salad dressing for Dad. You could try it, but you better make sure there's enough in the bottle for Dad’s dinner.

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The Legendary Tale Of Dorothy Lynch Dressing: A Nebraska Culinary Treasure

Dorothy Lynch is a brand of salad dressing that comes from Nebraska. It was invented, if that’s the correct word, in the 1940s in St Paul, Nebraska.

The legend goes, that a lady conveniently named Dorothy Lynch created the dressing for her husband’s restaurant in St Paul. It blew up. The people of Nebraska went crazy for this new salad dressing. So, they started to bottle and sell it.

As far as legends go, that’s not as exciting as a legend of Nebraska’s Radioactive Hornets, (a real thing). But it works for what it is.

dorthy lynch nebraska

READ MORE: Why Does South Dakota, Nebraska, and the Rest of the Midwest Eat Cinnamon Rolls With Chili?

As the calendar changed to the ‘50s and ’60s, the company grew in popularity and gained a sort of hometown pride.

This was also the same time my dad was growing up in the home of Arbor Day. He’s a fourth-generation Nebraska kid, so something like this was definitely on his dinner table every night.

dorthy lynch nebraska

I always thought that Dorothy Lynch was a 'just my family thing.' Until I met my wife.

Early in our relationship, down in Nebraska where we met, she remarked about how her dad always had to have his DL fix at dinner.

Her dad was born in Iowa, but we didn’t hold that against him. He spent most of his life as a cornhusker with a bottle of D-Lynch holstered and ready to fire at any salad that presented itself.

So we asked around. Several Nebraska-grown people we knew had a similar story. They'd love to reminisce about that orange bottle. You’d think it was delivered door to door by a milkman dressed like Tom Osbourne.

The parents and grandparents of the people we knew all had serious Dorothy Lynch dinner table rules. One guy would even watch Husker football games sitting in a bathtub of Dorothy Lynch salad dressing.

Okay, I made up that last bit. But it would not at all be surprising if it happened. Nebraska can be a weird place.

What Does Dorothy Lynch Taste Like

The best way to describe the taste of DL is that it tastes like Nebraska. I know that doesn’t help anyone who hasn't had it.

Nebraska can also kind of taste like cabbage and hamburger. So, I guess we can say that NE is multi-flavorful.

But, specifically, it’s like a French or Russian dressing with some extra spices. It is orangeish-red, creamy, and tangy with a hint of sweetness.

It was a favorite in church pot-luck taco salads. The ones in that big Tupperware bowl.

The lettuce was neither cold nor hot. There was shredded cheese, taco meat (probably leftover from family taco night), and cut-up tomatoes. All of that mixed up with a generous helping of Dorothy Lynch dressing.



The Dorothy tradition has not survived into my or my kid’s generations. I mean, it’s fine. But every drop of the dressing is always soaked with nostalgia. It tasted like dreading t-ball practice in 1986 to me.

I rebelled by becoming a hot sauce weirdo. My kids are growing up in a house where dad always has to have his Tapatío on the dinner table.

Tapatio Salsa Picante Hot Sauce
I keep a small bottle in my back, (PHOTO AMAZON)

Maybe I should keep a bottle of DL in the fridge nowadays. I could take a swig of the stuff whenever I’m feeling homesick.

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