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Today's Case

Howard Johnson's French Dressing

Subject: HoJo French dressing
From: Dawn
Date: 3/26/2022, 10:00 AM

On 3/25/2022 6:27 PM, Dawn wrote:

I am searching for the recipe that Howard Johnson had for French Dressing, 
which they were famous for back in the 70s and 80s, I believe.  

I could only find their recipe for Thousand Island. Would you have a way 
to find the FRENCH DRESSING recipe?

Thank you for any help you can provide,  



Hi Dawn,

Sorry, I had no success locating Howard Johnson's French dressing recipe. Most chain restaurants make such things at a central commissary and ship them to the individual restaurants. According to the book "A History of Howard Johnson's", HoJo's dressings were made this way. The recipe is likely still locked away somewhere. No one would have known it except the commissary employees and the corporation's management. The employees at the local HoJo's would not have known how to make the dressing, although they might have known a store brand that they could use as a substitute if they ran out of the real thing.

I also had no success finding a Jacques Pepin recipe for French Dressing. Even if I had, there's no guarantee that it would be the same one used for the restaurants, but it might be similar. Chef Pepin created many of Howard Johnson's dishes and ingredients.

It does not appear that anyone has been able to create a copycat recipe for the dressing. I suspect that the spices are difficult to reverse engineer.

There is a photo of the dressing bottle here: Pinterest The ingredients listed are: "vegetable oil, tomatoes, vinegar, onions, sugar, spices, and garlic." Sure, what French dressing recipe wouldn't have those? "Spices" is the key: What spices and how much of each?

I'll post this for reader input. Someone might know of a "tastes-like".


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