Sure, no one needs a $35 pool float shaped like a bottle of ranch dressing. But ranch dressing has never been about needs. Ranch dressing is about our most brazen wants: to make healthy vegetables unhealthy, to put buttermilk on pizza, to cover our fats in a coating of more fats. Ranch dressing is pure id.
And if ranch dressing is for some reason your thing, you can broadcast it to the entire pool party: Hidden Valley Ranch has just released a collection of ranch-themed summer clothing and accessories. There are swimsuits and trunks, beach bags, towels, water bottles, and button-down, Hawaiian-style shirts printed with pizza and ranch bottles, which are very Urban Outfitters meets Jeremy Scott.
They join a collection of pre-existing products on the Hidden Valley merch site, including a ranch fountain which would probably be a big hit at a cool wedding. There’s also a ranch flask (fill with ranch, obvi), a “Peace Love Ranch” shirt, and a “Pizza & Veggies & Wings & Fries & Hidden Valley” shirt, a knockoff of those Helvetica ampersand shirts but without the Helvetica.
All of this is to say that ranch is trying to be the summer version of pumpkin spice – a flavor preference that some people think is a substitute for a personality.
It means August will be a smooth transition from your “I put ranch on my ranch” one-piece swimsuit to your “Pumpkin spice is my favorite season” T-shirt.
It’s been a good year for ranch. It started with a charming presidential campaign meme, when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was interrupted in an Iowa pizza parlor by a young woman who was “just trying to get some ranch.” (Gillibrand later acquired a ranch shirt of her own, but not from the Hidden Valley line.) It was followed by several new products: Hidden Valley introduced ranch dressings flavored like pizza seasoning and Buffalo wing sauce, while Heinz gave the world the extremely fun-to-say Kranch, a combination of ketchup and ranch.
Anyway. Only a few lucky flavors and brands that get elevated to the status of fashion icon – such as Old Bay, if you live in Maryland, or Sriracha. Which will be next? Gochujang? Mayochup?