Sophomore reveals unusual phobia of ranch dressing

February 1, 2017 — by Sophia Zivanic

Sophomore Claire Luo discusses her fear of ranch. 

Walking through the school cafeteria, the foul stench of ranch salad dressing filled the room and sent sophomore Claire Luo running toward the “exit” sign.

Luo recalls her traumatic experience upon arriving at school on her first day of third grade in the U.S. As a Chinese immigrant, Luo had never tasted or even smelled anything like ranch dressing before.

“It is the most horrid thing on this planet and I do everything in my power to stay away from it,” Luo said.

Struggling to deal with being surrounded by Americans who have a love for the egg yolk-based mixture, Luo experimented with different ways for her to continue living in America without going insane from the egg fumes around her.

For example, during  lunchtime, when someone eats ranch dressing at her table, Luo simply holds her breath for a minute until she can step away for fresh air.

Although the presence of ranch dressing alarms Luo, she is fully capable of consuming ranch-flavored snacks such as Doritos chips.

In the past, Luo tried eating ranch dressing. Although it did not taste as bad as she had imagined, “smelling it that one time in third grade just led to a lifetime of irrational fear.”

According to Luo, ranch does not have a bad smell, but she is naturally afraid of ranch dressing and being within its vicinity triggers her gag reflex.

Going to public restaurants or even to public places such as school has always been difficult for Luo. Since it was such an exhausting feat to try and stay away from ranch dressing consumers, Luo searched for alternative options to help her obtain her goal of a normal life.

Luo came across a YouTube video titled, “How to conquer ranchphobia,” which featured a YouTuber climbing into a bathtub filled with ranch dressing. This form of “ranch therapy” is supposed to cure anyone who suffers from being terrified of the harmless salad topping.

If she ever finds someone willing to sacrifice their bathtub to help her conquer this irrational fear, she is willing to try ranch therapy.

In hopes of spreading awareness of strange phobias like hers, Luo wants to inform people of her continuous struggle with her fear of ranch.

“Some people aren’t being picky, they could have a deep fear that you don’t know about,” Luo said.


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