I love salad. I probably eat one every day and I’ve never found it necessary to use anything other than my mother’s dressing. I’d make a batch of dressing and keep it in a jar on the shelf (just like Mom), and whenever I ran out, I’d make another batch. For years, my brother Paul declared that our mother’s salad dressing was so good you could sell it. I began by offering it to friends, who encouraged me by sharing it with their friends. Soon, I started taking orders. I would deliver the dressing in recycled Clementine boxes I picked up each week from a guy named Mark at my local Whole Foods. One day, due to serendipity, curiosity, or a benevolent force, Mark asked me what I used the boxes for. I told him and he then asked, “If you make salad dressing, why haven’t you shared it with us?”
And so I did.
I’ve always loved to cook, and when I thought about returning to work, my brother’s idea kept resurfacing.
In carpool lines, at soccer games, over the umptiumpth reading of Harold and the Purple Crayon, I thought about dressing.
I realized there was more to this than just my mother’s amazing salad dressing recipe I’d been making it faithfully for 15 years. But why? The answer was something I thought many people could relate to:
My life is messy. My children are messy. Standing in my kitchen amid the chaos of dinner and homework and siblings, I crave a little luxury. Don’t we all? When I throw Dress It Up Dressing on my veggies, there is instant glamour. With that one act of dressing, I feel like I’ve prepared a gourmet meal, even if it took less than 30 seconds. It’s like my fairy godmother came in and with a wave of her wand, I’m Cinderella dressed for the ball!
My salad is always beautifully dressed (even on the days I’m not!).
I consider my dressings inextricably linked to the environment and to the farmers who produce the fruits and vegetables on which they taste so good. Early on we made a commitment to produce Dress It Up Dressing responsibly and sustainably. That means sourcing ingredients locally whenever possible, seeking out small micro-producers, minimizing travel times, shortening the food chain and reducing our impact on the environment. It also means practicing corporate responsibility, providing opportunities for people in our community, and choosing vendors who do the same.
We support initiatives that align with our values and passions – chief among them is the importance of learning healthy eating habits at a young age. That is why we love to partner with groups that aim to get healthy food to schools and children.
With Dress It Up Dressing we aspire to create a product – and a company – that embodies the traits we hold dear: honesty, integrity, responsibility, and taste.
Designing the labels is the ultimate game of Dress-Up.
Our labels are drawn by Inslee Haynes, a fashion illustrator based in New York. Her whimsical drawings of fabulously dressed women inspired me to think beyond bare fruits and veggies.
Just like dressing a salad, my sister and I took Inslee’s drawings and “dressed” them in food. Our father was a photographer who worked extensively with chef Jean-Louis Palladin. We turned their food images into clothing: a glass of champagne became a dress; a raspberry a ring; a beet a belt. I put basil and tomatoes on the Red Wine label because those three taste so wonderful together. The woman on the Apple Cider label is based on my hairdresser and I love her apple slice skirt and necklace and the zucchini flower in her hair. For Chocolate, I wanted her to look like that sultry temptress, Jessica Rabbit, but some friends found her way too sexy for the grocery aisle!
It’s important that my father’s involved. He ate my mother’s salad dressing practically every night for the nearly 40 years they were married. He passed away more than ten years ago, but needed to be part of this endeavor too.
Green was a given – it’s just good business. Bethesda Green has been invaluable in helping fill in a lot of gaps.