Coming Out of the Closet: I Hate You Dorothy Lynch

There I said it. I know it makes me sound un-Nebraskan, but I do. I've hated Dorothy Lynch for a long time. I've hid the hatred for years and only now do I have the courage to say it publicly. I hate you, Dorothy Lynch.

Gooey liquid from the pits of hell. (Source: Dorothy Lynch )

It's coming out now because my dear old Mom is 85 years old and in failing health. Now is the time that you bring up buried pain and work through it seeking release and forgiveness. It must be done before it's too late and you're stuck carrying these types of issues with you forever or pay some therapist hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars until the pain of losing all that money is worse than the pain of the thoughts you were trying to escape.

With that in mind, a few months ago I confronted dear old Mom about the Dorothy Lynch issue. There was no weeping, no screaming, but unfortunately there was denial. She denied that we ever had Dorothy Lynch.

"We never had Dorothy Lynch in the fridge. I didn't care for it that much either."

My sister and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised. She didn't care for Dorothy Lynch either? What a lie. She always kept a couple bottles in the fridge. How could she not? Before Dad died, he ran a grocery store. Every dented or bulging can came home and every bottle with a torn label, including Dorothy Lynch.

Besides, she had to keep it around if for no other reason than to appease the fridge spies. You know the kind - they come over to your house, stand in your kitchen and while they're talking to you open the fridge and glance inside.  The best spies can memorize the contents of your entire refrigerator in a glance for the purpose of informing on you. They tell the members of their squads, then the news is dispensed to the neighbors. Given our family's status in my hometown, we couldn't afford to be seen as anti-Nebraskan and not having Dorothy Lynch around was a sure sign that you're not one of us.

We kept up the deception for a long time. After Dad's death, it was just me and Mom living at home. Dorothy Lynch would stay unused for so long that dark crusts would form around the mouth of the bottle. Because of her depression-era childhood, Mom couldn't thrown anything out. When the bottle was pried open be used, dark crusts of dead Dorothy Lynch would ooze out with the rest of it onto the salad.

The final straw for me and Dorothy came the day Mom dumped it on my mashed potatoes. She snuck up behind me, bottle open, tapped me on the left shoulder to get me to look left and then went over my right shoulder for the pour. "Try it", she said, "It's good on everything." She gave me that reassuring look that only a mother could give. I tried it. It was ghastly. I never let my guard down again and spent the rest of my high school years hovering over my plate and looking around like a dog hovers over his bowl when he's eating.  

I still had it through high school. I ate it on salads whenever I was at someone else's house and it was offered up like Jim Jones' people were offered purple kool-aid -  with that same kind of 'you can't refuse to eat this and be one of us' kind of look. I had to keep up the appearance of a good Nebraskan while all the time wondering how good Christian people could do this to their children.

Still, Dorothy Lynch remains inescapable. My wife uses it in a macaroni salad she makes in the summer. I heard her mention it to the neighbors. She's hiding the bottle, though, because I haven't seen one in the fridge. I'm sure she keeps the bottle at the neighbor's so I won't find it. She knows it would send me into a neurotic rant about mashed potatoes, a lost childhood, and why we always kept 300 soap bath bars in the basement. Maybe she believes she's protecting the children and for that I thank her.

I know that I'm taking a chance by posting this article, that I may be the only Nebraskan alive who doesn't love the stuff.  But I do so with the hopes that I'm not alone. There has to be someone else out there who feels the same way about Dorothy Lynch that I do. There are so many other salad dressings out there, including 38 different kinds of Ranch and 17 styles of Italian. Try one of them sometime and then join me in knowing that you can be a good Nebraskan and like other kinds of salad dressing. You are not alone.

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