Spice Blends, Some Exotic Aisle: Beau Monde

Beau Monde means “Beautiful World” in French; but in French cuisine, this spice blend doesn’t mean anything.

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Beau Monde is a blend of celery seed (red bowl), onion powder (orange bowl) and salt (yellow bowl) created by US spice brand, Spice Islands, in the 1940s.

Used in: From what I’ve read, Beau Monde, Dill, and sour cream has been a go-to party dip served with vegetables or chips since the mid 20th century. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dip was the inspiration behind Sour Cream and Onion flavored potato chips, which are very common in the United States. These were the days before Ranch was the most popular salad dressing flavor, and a household name. More on that later.

Other uses: Dairy-based Dips, condensed soup, any dairy creamy-based dish.

It’s hard not to taste Beau Monde and think it was the predecessor to Ranch. Ranch, as in Hidden Valley Ranch, was created in the 1950s by a Nebraskan couple who bought land in California.

By the late 1980s, I remember the Hidden Valley brand arriving in the supermarkets in bottles, and as a powder to be added to sour cream or plain yogurt. It wasn’t long before a ranch flavor was added to potato chips and corn chips. When Buffalo-style chicken wings became one of the most popular appetizers in bars, ranch and blue cheese became the two most popular dipping sauces to accompany them. Which do you prefer on wings? I like Blue Cheese.

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