In the Kitchen Inspiration Rural Life

Homemade Italian Dressing and a 4:8 Attitude

Homemade Italian dressing is always–always–in my fridge. But it didn’t used to be. In fact, I never once contemplated homemade Italian dressing until the day a double disappointment lead to this new joyous staple in my fridge, my new wish-I-had-realized-that-sooner thing.

homemade italian dressing

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Blueberries, river rafting, and labradoodles. Giant, heavy pottery mugs and free-ranging hens… All things I wish I had invited into my life long before I did. Things I love now but never cared for in my youth. Yesterday, amidst anger and disappointment, I discovered one more item for my long list of wish-I-had-realized-that-sooner things. And I learned a lesson I seem to continually need to relearn.

The discovery? Homemade Italian dressing is so easy and so delicious, it should have been a staple in my fridge for the past 20 years.

The lesson? A 4:8 Attitude is always the best. Philippians 4:8 assures me that in every situation there is always something good, noble, and lovely. And when I focus on what is right, admirable, and praiseworthy, I am much better off, in every way.

My anger had started boiling up yesterday morning when I realized my mistake: the night before, while adding groceries to our freezer in the back hall of our farmhouse, I had laid out two large pork roasts temporarily. “Temporarily” turned into overnight, and the frozen meat turned soft. So what should have been the makings of two wonderful family-favorite meals had to now be cooked immediately or thrown away.

My anger escalated when I realized I didn’t have a key ingredient for the pork crock-pot meal I decided to double–there wasn’t a drop of Italian salad dressing in the house, and I needed three bottles of it. I realize this wouldn’t be a problem for many people, or for me in my “past life” of suburbia… just hop in the car and choose one of five grocery stores within a few miles of my home. But in my rural New England town, I have one country store. And what would be a meager expense at my go-to store in “the big city,” where I stock up on dressing, would cost five times as much at my little country store. Beyond that, well, I don’t even pass a traffic light for 11 miles from my home. Needless to say, big chain grocery stores aren’t too prevalent.

My anger overflowed when I perused the country store shelves to find they only held eight ounces of Italian dressing. I need six times that amount.

I shouldn’t admit it, but I slammed doors and yelled. Not angry at anyone but myself. Not yelling at anyone but myself. But wasting my time and never once thinking about the good side to my defrosted pork dilemma–imagine if I didn’t go to the back hall that morning and the pork became warm trash. Never once thinking about the lovely joys of rural life–sure the nearest salad dressing was 18 miles away, but just that morning I had enjoyed the morning rounds, tending to the animals .

Ducks in a Row

Baby bunnies on the farm

I’d traversed around the lake with my daughter and observed an aquatic dance of our loon pair.


I watched barn swallows, and tended to our garden.

pumpkin in the garden

Never once did I stop to think about just one aspect of my disappointment that was worthy of praise; but my disappointment would lead to a new joy, a new wish-I-had-realized-that-sooner thing.

You see, while I fumed, my daughter was doing some online research, and she suggested we try to make our own marinade. A few minutes later, after combining things we had in the kitchen, I discovered my new favorite salad dressing.

It made delicious pulled pork. And for lunch, it was a perfect marinade for our grilled chicken sandwiches. And the joy kept coming; I discovered today that this dressing is perfect on a chicken mango salad as well.


I apologized to my daughters for my cranky outburst, praised the one for her 4:8 Attitude that gave me a new joy, thanked God for his continual provision and mercy even in the very midst of my selfish disappointment, and throughly enjoyed our lunch and dinner.

Print Recipe
Homemade Italian Dressing
Prep Time 5 minutes
Prep Time 5 minutes
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Stir well or shake in glass jar.
  3. This recipe makes about two cups of dressing, and it stores well in your refrigerator.
Share this Recipe

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

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0 Comment

  1. Homemade dressings are always the best, as well as homemade salsas. And this way YOU are in control of what’s going into them (especially sugar). Andy can definitely relate to watching someone fume around the house in frustration when something is not here that I expect to have – he has ME. 🙂

    1. I totally agree Robin! Not only are you in control of the ingredients, but you know there are no preservatives or other unnecessary components–just yummy, all-natural goodness. (And thanks for consoling me that I’m not the only one who throws an occasional kitchen tirade.)

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