A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

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Entry from April 17, 2005
Thousand Islands: Thousand Islands Dressing
The "Thousand Islands" refers to the Thousand Island of upstate New York. However, was this dressing popularized in New York City or Chicago?

(Oxford English Dictionary)
thousand island [f. Thousand Islands, name of a large group of islands in the St. Lawrence River], used attrib. and absol. to designate Russian salad-dressing containing added pieces of garnishing
1916 Daily Colonist (Victoria, B.C.) 19 July 6/1 (Advt.), Mrs. Porter's *Thousand Island Salad Dressing, bottle 35¢.

19 October 1912, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 9:
Tomato and green pepper salad, vegetable salad with thousand island dressing and stuffed cherry salad were prepared.

26 November 1912, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 7, col. 1:
Take one cup mayonnaise dressing, mix with one-half cup whipped cream, add small amount of Tarragon vinegar, one-half teaspoonful of imperial sauce, then chop one hard boiled egg, one green pepper, one pimento, one pinch chives, mix well together and squeeze the juice of one lemon before serving. This sauce can be served with any kind of salad.

Chronicling America
17 January 1913, Tensas Gazette (St. Joseph, LA), pg. 9, col. 3:
Thousand Island Dressing.
Take one cup mayonnaise dressing, mix with one-half cup whipped cream, add small amount of Tarragon vinegar, one-half teaspoonful of imperial sauce, then chop one hard boiled egg, one green pepper, one pimento, one pinch chives, mix well together and squeeze the juice of one lemon before serving. This sauce can be served with any kind of salad.

25 May 1913, Los Angeles (CA) Times, Pg. VIII6:
Strange Salad Dressing.
"Can some one of your constituency give me the recipe for Thousand Island salad dressing? CHICAGO

Of this recipe I must plead my ignorance! I have been to the Thousand islands, but I have no recollection of a salad dressing. Will some one better informed than myself provide this recipe for the inquirer?

13 June 1913, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 13:
(...) Also do you know how "Thousand Island" dressing for salad is made? It contains whipped cream, which is added last, but I do not know the other ingredients, "MRS. G. P."
(...) I do not know the preparation you call "Thousand Island" dressing - at least not by that name. Cream is often added to mayonnaise to make it rich and smooth. Perhaps the recipe for which you ask will be contributed by a sister housewife. We should be glad to have and to print it.

15 January 1914, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 11:
Thousand Island Salad Dressing.
Four tablespoons good mayonnaise, four tablespoons whipped cream, two tablespoons tarragon vinegar, juice of one-half lemon. Add one hard boiled egg, half a pimento, and a little chives minced together and mix well. - Kindness E. T. C.

20 February 1914, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 11:
Thousand Island Dressing.
"I give up in despair if this recipe which I inclose does not appear in this corner. I sent the same to you three or four weeks ago and have looked for it in every day's paper, as I read your request for it. To my great surprise a second request came a day or two ago. I try again:
Thousand Island dressing:
One tablespoon of red peppers, one tablespoon of chives, one tablespoon of onion, two tablespoons of chili sauce, a dash of paprika, four tablespoons of cooked salad dressing, two tablespoons of whipped cream, one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of vinegar. Chop first three articles before measuring: add chili sauce and dressing, then vinegar and oil and whipped cream. Beat well and serve on lettuce or tomatoes. G. H. N."

And probably the last appearance of the celebrated variform "dressing." By good rights it should not show itself again this year. I insert it to save a respected member from "despair."

12 August 1914, Syracuse (NY) Herald, pg. 10, col. 5:
It is a very agreeable sauce, or even a relish, and will do nicely to mix with mayonnaise dressing for the Thousand Island salad dressing, or what ir sometimes called cardinal mayonnaise or Portugaise, etc.

8 July 1914, Iowa Recorder (Greene, Iowa), pg. 7, col. 2:
Thousand Isle Dressing -- From the number of salad dressings bearing this name one must be named for each island. The dressing is a simple French dressing as above with the addition of chopped onion, celery, peppers with some catsup; in fact, anything may be added and named a Thousand Isle dressing.

1 November 1914, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. D6:
The experienced cook varies mayonnaise in a score or more of ways by thinning or by additions. it is thinned and made whiter with cream for fruit salads, with chili sauce alone, or with other additions, for the Thousand Islands dressing. Years ago such mixtures were called Portuguese. Chopped pickles, capers, olives, parsley, chives, and perhaps other things are added to it to make the sauce tartare, and it is varied in many other ways.

THE CLUB HOUSE COOK BOOK (Rochester, NY, 1914) has "Thousand Island
Salad Dressing" on page 32.

by Kate Brew Vaughn
McDonald Press, Cincinnati
Copyright 1914
Copyright 1917
Pg. 89:
Thousand Island Salad Dressing

28 February 1919, Pueblo (CO) Chieftain, "Helps for Home Needs" by Molly Dell, pg. 5, col. 2:
Blackstone Dressing -- Mix with four tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise dressing four tablespoonfuls of whipped cream, two of chili sauce and two of tomato catsup with two of vinegar. Roquefort chesse may be added if desired.

NY, 1923) by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron:
Pg. 116:
Chicago Salad (Four portions.)
(A good main dish for a simple luncheon.)
One cup diced cooked veal
One-half cup cooked peas
One-half cup diced celery
Two level tablespoons chopped pickles
Two level tablespoons chopped diced pimientos
One level tablespoon chopped onion
One and one-half level tablespoons salt
One-half level tablespoon paprika
One-half cup Salad Dressing
Mix all the ingredients and serve very cold on lettuce leaves.
Pg. 41:
Thousand Island Dressing (Four portions)
(A modern and popular dressing served much in hotels and tea-rooms.)
One-fourth cup lemon juice
One-half cup vegetable or olive oil
One level teaspoon chopped parsley
One-fourth level teaspoon ground mustard
One level teaspoon salt
One-fourth level teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
One-fourth level teaspoon paprika
One level tablespoon chopped onion
Two tablespoons chili sauce
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Cover closely and shake for three minutes. Serve very cold. (Shake again before serving.) Use on head lettuce, cooked asparagus salad and sliced tomatoes.

Chicago Thousand Island Dressing (Four portions)
(A more elaborate Thousand Island Dressing.)
One-fourth level teaspoon mustard
One level teaspoon salt
One-fourth level teaspoon paprika
One level teaspoon chopped parsley
One level teaspoon chopped onion
One-half teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Two level tablespoons chopped hard-cooked eggs
One level tablespoon chopped green pepper
Two level tablespoons chopped pimientos
One-fourth cup orange juice
One-third cup lemon juice
Two-thirds cup oil
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar or bottle. Cover firmly. Shake vigorously for three minutes. Serve very cold.

26 September 1925, Chef de Cuisine, pg. 47:
Published in connection with the opening of the new grand ball room Hotel Sherman and Inaugural Dinner Dance of the Chefs of Cuisine Association of Chicago.
Chef de Cuisine, Drake Hotel
Mr. Theo. Rooms, Chef at the Drake Hotel, is the original founder of this most delicious salad-dressing.

It is known from coast to coast and is found on every bill of fare.

It's (sic) ingredients consist of:
Chili Sauce
Green Peppers

To create new combinations of foodstuffs requires knowledge, theoretical and practical, of the composition of food in general. Credit is, therefore, due to all those who give these subjects special attention.

It is more and more recognized that the human system needs a well balanced diet.

Vegetables and salads form a prominent part in building up and
sustaining the human structure.

To add spice and to make these particular foods more palatable has been the aim of many chefs; with the result that various dressings have been compounded.

The circumstances leading to the discovery of the now famous 1000 Island Dressing is being told by Mr. Rooms in the following manner:

Whenever a great Hotel or Restaurant is being opened, it is customary to have some new dishes as a specialty with their appropriate names appear on the Bill of Fare.

So it was when fiftenn years ago the exclusive Blackstone Hotel opened it's (sic) doors to the public.

Many new dishes were created and appeared on the bill.

Mr. Rooms was then chef de gardemanger at the Blackstone and his contribution consisted of a new Salad Dressing.

It found immediate favor with the hotel patrons and was in big demand.

In honor of the Hotel it was called Blackstone dressing. Chefs and Stewards of other Hotels heard of the dressing and inquiries came from all directions asking particulars and information.

At this particular time, Mr. Rooms went on a vacation on the St. Lawrence River visiting the Thousand Islands.

Coming back home, he discussed with the Maitre d'hotel, Mr. Auwaerter, the success of the dressing, and in the course of conversation, the visit to the Thousand Islands was mentioned.

A sudden thought then struck Mr. Auwaerter, and he exclaimed excitedly:

"1,000 Island Dressing is a good name for your new Salad Dressing."

From that moment on, the Salad Dressing that now delights a multitude ofdiners has been known as THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING.

Google News Archive
9 May 1963, Meriden (CT) Journal, pg. 28, col. 3:
French Fried Shrimp
With Thousand
Island Sauce

Unlike so many sauces and dressings we use, the well-known Thousand Island Salad Dressing is a truly American creation. THere are two stories about its origin. One version credits a chef of Chicago's Blackstone Hotel with creating the sauce, first called Blackstone Dressing. The other story has the dressing originating in the home of a Geroge C. Boldt in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River, and later being served, under the name of Thousand Island Dressing, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • (3) Comments • Sunday, April 17, 2005 • Permalink

Dear Barry:
Nice posting. Let me point out that the Thousand Islands are probably more Canadian than New York, eh?

Posted by Stefan Dollinger  on  06/28  at  02:49 PM

Not the true story. It was invented By Sofia LaLonde… Introduced in the thousand islands.


Mrs. Ella Bertrand was my great aunt:

The history of the dressing dates back to the early days of the century and centers in the small resort village of Clayton, N.Y. In those days a popular fishing guide named George LaLonde, Jr., as his father before him, guided visiting fishermen for black bass and northern pike through the scenic, fish-filled waters of the 1000 Islands.

Unlike his father, George Jr. would serve a different and unusual salad dressing to his fishing parties as part of their shore dinners. Prepared on the surrounding islands as part of a day of guided fishing, these dinners have always been very popular with visiting fishermen. Their popularity in fact, has withstood “the test of time” more than enough to qualify them as one of the region’s premier and most unique attractions.

On one particular occasion George was guiding a very prominent New York City stage actress of the period named May Irwin and her husband. Miss Irwin, a renowned cook and cookbook authoress in her own right, was particularly impressed with the dressing and asked George for the recipe. The dressing was actually created and made by George’s wife Sophia, who was flattered by the request and willingly gave the recipe to Miss Irwin. At the same time Mrs. LaLonde gave the recipe to Mrs. Ella Bertrand, who’s family owned the Herald Hotel, one of the most popular hotels in Clayton and where Miss Irwin and her husband stayed during their early vacations in the islands. Mrs. Bertrand prepared the dressing for Miss Irwin and her husband and also added it to the other choices of salad dressing offered to her dining room customers.

It was Miss Irwin who gave it the name “Thousand Island” and it was Mrs. Bertrand, at the Herald Hotel, who first served it to the dining public. Upon her return to New York City Miss Irwin gave the recipe to fellow 1000 Islands summer visitor George C. Boldt, owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, the Bellview Stratford in Philadelphia and also the builder of Boldt Castle on nearby Heart Island. Equally impressed with its flavor, Mr. Boldt directed his world famous maitre d’ Oscar Tschirky, to put this dressing from the 1000 Islands on the hotel’s menu at once. In doing so Oscar earned credit for introducing the dressing to the “world.”

Posted by Bill  on  07/21  at  04:14 PM

In doing some research, it seems there may be a third competitor for origins: New Orleans. Several recipes suggest it was a variant of red remoulade used as a condiment on shrimp and other local seafood (as opposed to white remoulade).

There’s a recipe in this book from 1900: A Book of Famous Old New Orleans Recipes used in the South for more than 200 years, p. 21. Peerless Printing Company, New Orleans, 1900.

As for the name, there is an area called Ten Thousand Islands in the Mississippi delta. That seems like a stretch, though. Perhaps there was some cross-pollination of French influences between the people of the bayous and their French settler cousins like the seafood-loving LaLondes up north. Thanks for the interesting info!

Posted by Andrea James  on  02/14  at  04:11 AM

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