There are some lines you do not cross in a relationship. If you’re watching a show together, one person does not view episodes without the other. You do not make major financial decisions without discussing it with your spouse. And you certainly do not, under any circumstances, make your special salad dressing for another man.
Like many who follow pop culture, I am captivated by the salad dressing that ended one relationship and ignited another. According to a Daily Mail interview with the former nanny of Jason Sudeikis’ and Olivia Wilde’s children, “Sudeikis became infuriated after seeing Wilde prepare a salad for [Harry] Styles with her ‘special dressing’ in the family kitchen.”
That’s right: a salad dressing so good that it hooked heartthrob Harry Styles. Now, we’ve all had a lot of wild food moments in our lives: Parmesan that makes us cry. Stews that horrify. Spaghetti that makes us blush. Still, this must have been some salad dressing.
“I said, ‘what salad dressing?’” the nanny recalls asking Sudeikis. “He said: ‘She has a special salad dressing she makes for us and she’s taken it to have it with him now’. I don’t know what was in it.”
“Out of everything, he was like, ‘she made her special salad dressing and took it to him,’” the nanny added.
Vulture, among others, took a stab at guessing what that dressing recipe could be; one theory is that it’s the same dressing Wilde made for a roasted salmon salad with zucchini and potatoes during her appearance on the 2020 Food Network special Questlove’s Potluck. It was a simple dressing composed of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and olive oil. Sounds good, but maybe not life-changing?
From least to most likely, here are our best guesses to what the life-altering dressing might have been.
In 2015, Wilde tweeted that she enjoyed eating burnt and still slightly frozen (???) tater tots with a side of ranch dressing. But that definitely sounds like more of a post-divorce dressing to us, not one capable of causing the split. It also seems far too basic—too American—to rope in a British pop star.
A nice homemade vinaigrette can really elevate a few simple ingredients, yet it’s a dressing that most people are capable of making quite easily. Assuming Wilde had some particularly high-end oil and vinegar at her disposal, you could make the case for a vinaigrette—but we’re doubtful.
The name itself is kind of sexy, and homemade versions of this herbaceous dressing can really pop. Maybe Wilde made it a whole production: slipping out the back door to harvest sprigs of parsley, tarragon, and watercress from the garden; eye contact as she pops open the tin of anchovies; rubbing lemon halves over her fingertips to get rid of the garlic smell. Where you lose us is the mayonnaise. Green goddess is a near-perfect condiment, but it’s far from sexy (albeit suggestive).
Maybe Olivia’s special dressing is not actually a homemade dressing at all. Maybe she just secretly douses a package of spring mix with some bottled Newman’s Own and hides the bottle when she’s finished. What’s hotter than keeping a secret between you and Paul “F*ck Hut” Newman?