Friday, May 26, 2023

Memories of Salad Dressings

Do you remember the Jackson location for Steak and Ale? They were on the I-55 N frontage road, beside Blackwell Chevy, probably where the (now closed) Luby’s and Fuddruckers building is. During their time, I must have eaten at Steak and Ale 100 times. Back then, I had a boss from Chicago who was in residence in Jackson for several years during a start-up. He loved the place, and we would do business dinners, sometimes twice a week, because his wife refused to leave Lincoln Park for J-Town and he hated to cook in an empty house.

Thousand Island Dressing

Thankfully we took visiting customers to the top of the DGB building and the University Club - a long-gone Jackson gem. Eventually I’ll share stuff from that excellent private restaurant with you but today is Steak and Ale’s turn, so I need to get back on topic.

 Sadly, (I think due to poor corporate management decisions) almost all of S&A’s extensive chain of very good steak house chain locations closed a while back. I understand the brand was purchased by someone in the steak business this past year and new stores are slowly opening. Hopefully the chain will come back and get healthy again. I would welcome one in our area with gusto.

I never had a bad meal at S&A and loved their self-serve salad bar as much as any item on their menu. In those days, I think I had dreams about S&A’s Thousand Island dressing. A long time has passed since I acquired the recipe for it and I thought you might want to know how to make it so that folks will rave about lettuce salad at your house. This recipe makes 2 cups - enough for 4 to 6 Lettuce Wedge Salads (an old fashioned favorite salad selection from days when eating at Primos Northgate or LeFleur’s was fancy dining). This dressing keeps for only a few days in the refrigerator, so make only what you will quickly eat.

Thousand Island Dressing

Makes 2 cups


1 cup Mayonnaise - Hellman’s at our house
1/4 cup Hinds Ketchup, or (my preferred choice) Hinds Chili Sauce, which is usually on a top shelf in the Ketchup section at your Grocery
2 Eggs – Hardboiled and finely grated, or finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons celery, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt


Prepare and mix all ingredients together.

At best, this dressing will keeps for only 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

I love this stuff and like to keep my salad ‘lettuce wedge simple’ when we eat it.


This stuff is also great on or with boiled shrimp


Come Back Dressing

Who in the world would claim to be from Mississippi and not pay homage to the ‘Most Bestest’ thing to come out of our culinary heritage? Certainly not me! Let’s end this post with a recipe for Come Back Dressing. First, let me dance around answering that old question that always seems to divide us – Where did Come-Back (also called Kum-Bak by some and several other spellings) actually come from?

History is full of disagreements, but most likely, the dressing originated at Jackson’s first Greek restaurant, “The Rotisserie” (long/long gone from the original location on the North West corner of highway 49 at 5 points) and Chef Alex Dennery.   

The actual recipe for this delicious salad dressing, shrimp dip, seafood sauce, cracker topping, etc depends on who you are, what church cook book(s) you own, whether you believe those Yankee chefs at Food Network know how to make anything authentic southern or whether you paid any attention to your mom when she made her version.

My road to the Come-Back we currently eat at our house began in my mom’s kitchen. Mom’s Comeback included Mayo (blue plate back then), Ketchup (“Delmonte’s made with real pineapple vinegar”), French’s yellow mustard, Lee & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, a dash of lemon juice if she had any, and salt. I watched her make the dressing we loved so much a hundred times and never saw her measure anything. Her recipe was a spoonful of this and a squirt of that. The level of pink or red, which varied depending on whether it was going on salad – light pink, or shrimp, darker red, depended on the amount of ketchup she added, and sometimes on how much ketchup we had in the fridge.

She always said she made it by the recipe used at The Redwood Inn, on Terry Road, right behind Battlefield Park. It was a place she and her sisters went to enjoy a chili hotdog and a coke on payday Friday nights after they got off work at Colonial Bakery, where they worked while waiting for my dad and three uncles to return from WWII deployment in Europe. Why she claimed the ‘recipe’ came from there, I’ll never know, because there was never a written recipe with quantities in the house, only a list of ingredients she had filed away in her head.   


Come-back Salad Dressing, the way we make it

Makes 2 cups

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Chili sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup, maybe more if I want it redder
1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon LA Gold Hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Salt as desired (after tasting)

Additional Ingredients (for seafood dip and shrimp sauce)

3 teaspoons Capers
3 Tablespoons Horseradish (to taste)
additional ketchup (as desired)



Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, or suitable jar or container

Mix well, taste, and adjust to taste with salt and black pepper.



We store our Come-back dressing in whatever sealable vessel we have handy – jar, ketchup bottle, squeeze bottle, whatever. The dressing should keep fine in the refrigerator for two or three weeks.

Confession time - We never go to the beach condo in South Alabama without a freshly made bottle of this dressing mixed and packed before we strike out. Modifications, such as additional ketchup and horseradish are made once we get there and start eating the shrimp we boil as soon as we can after unpacking, obtained on the way into Gulf Shores from Billy’s Seafood at Bon Secure.


Using come-back for shrimp or seafood.

I usually add another 1/4 cup of ketchup and several Tablespoons of horseradish, until I get the taste right. Usually I make the come-back and then pull half of it to use making my shrimp sauce. Depending on who is eating with us, I might add capers because I love them, being careful to ask if we are cooking for guests, because some folks don’t like capers.

Regardless of location or circumstance, we eat a lot of this great traditional Mississippi Dressing.

Come-Back made dark red, with horseradish added, tastes great on shrimp, salmon cakes, crawfish, crab cakes, fish sticks, whatever.



As always, Thanks for looking at my post.

God Bless You!


Anonymous said...

I remember the come-back at Dennery's. I always thought it was the one to judge others by.

Anonymous said...

that's way too much dressing on a salad , well this is Mississippi and people and love a 1/2 gallon of ranch on everything .

Anonymous said...

Dressing, like gravy, is a beverage in the south.

Anonymous said...

Remember when people came TO Jackson for business and ate out and got drinks. We had a pretty good selection even up until a few years ago. What happened?

Anonymous said...

That's pretty damn close, King. The Dennery's version actually had dijon mustard instead of dry and Tabasco sauce instead of LA Gold with no paprika but that's a nice addition.

Anonymous said...

My first date with the man I married was in 1984 at Steak & Ale. It was our favorite place to eat, and it certainly was a winning recipe for a happy marriage. We've been together nearly 40 years now. Thank you for the memories!

We can't discuss Mississippi recipes without mentioning 'Mississippi pot roast'. I've long tweaked the original recipe to make it my own but the recipe still gets lots of hits on the internet. Another uniquely Mississippi combo is fried catfish and spaghetti served together. I think it comes from the Friday menu at public schools: fish for Catholic children and spaghetti for others. Our cafeteria let us have both when I was growing up.

Anonymous said...

Those pics are wonderful. Know I'm hungry!
Steak and Ale, brings back good memories. That loaf of dark bread, huge steak knives, and burgundy mushrooms.

Kay Jerome said...

Prettiest pictures I’ve ever seen on here,

Anonymous said...

The salad for the Steak and Ale salad bar was supplied in large plastic bags with large staples. I know this because one Sunday night enjoying dinner with my newly minted Lawyer buddy, I bit down on a staple in my salad I had prepared at the salad bar. Needless to say, our dinners were comp'd for the night.

Nowadays, I would think Outback would be tough competition.

Anonymous said...

Who wrote this article?
KF didn’t cause he set foot in that place.

Anonymous said...

You know a man is old school when he puts radishes on his salad.

Anonymous said...

Is it OK if I use Heinz Ketchup instead of the Hinds Ketchup in the recipe? Asking for a friend that wants to make it.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

A heartfelt apology to the one who pointed out I misspelled the name of my ketchup! You are correct. It is Heinz Ketchup and not Hinds Ketchup.

Please do not blame Kingfish for this error. All of these photo recipe posts are by ZeroBear PolyBear, or at least by his owner, with ZeroBear's full input on everything other than spelling. Unfortunately, the responsibility for proper spelling falls on the feeble brain actions of his 73 year old best buddy, AKA Da.

If you continue to read these weekly photo recipe posts, my hope is you will eventually get accustomed to seeing at least one misspelled word in ach of my posts. My errors bother me a lot. Thank goodness ZeroBear knows me well enough that they no longer bother him.

As I understand Japanese artists include at least one error in whatever they do, to acknowledge their respect for the perfection that is God.

I bid all of you peace,
ZeroBear PolyBear

Anonymous said...

I agree that Dennery’s was the best comeback. Anyone have the recipe? 11:27 maybe? 🤞🏼

Anonymous said...

S & A’s prime rib was outstanding!!! The place to be in mid to late 70’s.

Anonymous said...

I have an original menu from Steak and Ale. Many of you probably remember it. It's heavy metal and wood and in the shape of a meat cleaver, about a foot long. Food menu is printed on one side of the white blade and wine/beer list on the other side. Collector's item.

I would post a picture, but the blog doesn't allow participant pictures.

I too make the original Rotisserie Comeback recipe. Crechales is the only decent knockoff in the area today but is not quite thick enough.

Anonymous said...

There are many things that signal 'not traditional Southern'. Two of them are spaghetti with fried catfish and radishes on salad.

Shrimp salad without Comeback is like a car without a gasoline engine.

Anonymous said...

ZeroBear must have two things I don't:
1. A special gland to process mounds of spiced up mayonnaise;
2. A three times a day exercise program to burn caloric O.D.

But I do share his shrimp and Gulf Shores/Orange Beach condo affection.

Louis LeFleur said...

Surprised no one has yet mentioned the (slight) error in the mentioned location as "beside Blackwell Chevy, probably where the (now closed) Luby’s and Fuddruckers building is". While it was where Luby's/Feddruckers was located, it was a good ways north of Blackwell Chevy. It was in the former K-Mart parking lot, now home to several other businesses.

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing some good music at S & A too… Like Robin Blakney and others..

Anonymous said...

The Steak and Ale chain is reopening, but it appears it will begin in the upper Midwest states. Another article said North Texas will have one open in early 2024. There supposedly is a Facebook page of fans that has 50,000 members.

Bill Dees said...

The South, where salad dressing is just dumped on top of lettuce, instead of being tossed with the salad.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Bill Dees not only professes, but shares his ignorance. It's a northern pattern, I tell ya.

He's never heard of Southern Combination Salad, a side item (or can be a main dish with shrimp or chicken) in which the salad ingredients are thoroughly mixed with the dressing of choice prior to serving.

He mentions 'dump'. The only thing dumped around here is the occasional yankee who stains our soil by jumping off the train. Pitty-Pander is another example.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

1:42 My mom loved a lettuce wedge with Thousand Island or comeback. I do too. As I recall, it was a featured salad at Lefleur's Restaurant. Maybe Primo's too.

Anonymous said...

The comeback sauce at Rowdy’s in Vicksburg was my favorite, by far. I believe it was called Nosser Sauce (after the owner).

Anonymous said...

First of all, I love the Greek community in Mississippi.

My Uncle married a girl from Athens, so I grew up knowing most of the Greek families in Jackson.

Greeks love to fight each other if there is no "out side" threat.
(If there's a threat, then they stop their petty feuds and stick together).

Just ask a question to the original Greek families in Jackson about the original or best
Come back sauce, and it will start a war ... (actually a loud argument)... kind of like the The Godfather movies.

Then after a few days, they will make up with each other.

Now I'm thinking about my dear friend, the late Costas Pavlou.

MBrookes said...

I use the Comeback recipe from the deceased Elite (pronounced E' lite, emphasis on the E and lite pronounced like light) in Clarksdale. It is very similar to the one here, with a few slight differences. We love it.

Anonymous said...

The Elite on Capitol will be forever a classic memory.

Contrary to folklore,the Elite and Mayflower were never in a "battle" with each other.

Yeah, both were Greek owned and operated... but worlds apart.

The Elite: ... known for veal cutlets & enchiladas
The Mayflower: ... known for Fresh seafood and political intrigue.

(BTW,only the rural folks pronounced the Elite as the E-light).

Anonymous said...

The absolute, literal ruination and destruction of all thousand-island and comeback recipes is 'too much catsup/ketchup' or the (yack) substitution of chili sauce.

Anonymous said...

Serious question: why does the comeback dressing keep for 2 to 3 weeks, while the thousand island at best keeps 2 to 3 days?

Anonymous said...

@10:01 - it's the other way around and it's because the 1000 island has preservatives.

Anonymous said...

ZeroBear PolyBear, you are doing a great job. Keep it up.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

I see where there is a disagreement concerning safe storage of homemade dressings, and whether come back keeps longer than Thousand Island.

I will stick with my statement. I believe it is because thousand island has eggs in it and come back doesn't. Both are homemade, with no preservatives added, other than what is in the ingredients as they come out of their jar into the mixing bowl.

I only recommend refrigerator safe storage times out of brotherly love for you guys. If you don't agree or find fault, you certainly don't have to follow my recommendations, since I may be wrong and you may be right. Not that it means anything, but I have a master's degree in microbiology and hold a certification in Public Health from the APHA.

I bid you peace.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ZB PB! That’s exactly the trusted info I needed. So if I leave out the eggs, homemade Thousand Island would also keep two to three weeks in ‘fridge?

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

12:26 - never tried it that way, but it should work. However, thousand island needs finely grated egg to become thousand island.

Anonymous said...

These recipes always look and sound delicious - thanks for sharing.I'm looking forward to trying both of these. I like that this comeback has onion/garlic powder which allows it a longer storage time.

Here is the most reliable source of Elite/Dennery's comeback I've found. It's VERY similar but has fresh onion and garlic which shortens the length of time it can be stored, but I've had it last 2 weeks if kept cold at all times. It is amazing on salads, seafood, fried green tomatoes or onion rings, saltines...

3 large garlic cloves
1 medium onion, grated
1 cup mayonnaise (good quality - Hellman or Duke)
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
1-2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup salad oil (canola is fine)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp salt
Juice of one lemon
dash of hot sauce

opt: horseradish to taste

Grate the onion and garlic in a food processor with grater blade, then use the regular blade to process it and garlic. (you can just use the regular blade for all, but will have larger bits of onion/garlic. Using the grater makes them almost invisible.
Add other ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...



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