I Made Olivia Wilde’s Salad Dressing to Make My Boyfriend Fall Deeper in Love With Me

A collage of Olivia Wilde and salad
Collage by Ashley Peña

Like seemingly everyone else on the Internet this week (at least, my corner of the Internet), I have been fully wrapped up in the latest iteration of drama between celebrity exes Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis. Generally speaking, celebrity relationship drama doesn’t do it for me. It’s messy, sad, and feels inherently un-fun (unlike, say, the conversation around James Corden getting kicked out of—and immediately welcomed back to—Balthazar). Because of that, I have only peripherally kept up with Wilde and Sudeikis’ story; when I saw their nanny spoke to the Daily Mail and started a whole new circuit of press, I was prepared to ignore it. Then, I heard about the salad dressing.

If you consider yourself at all to be a citizen of the Internet, you’re probably nodding your head, thinking, “Ah yes, the salad dressing.” If you haven’t read the Daily Mail story (or the thousands of publications that aggregated the news, including W), you may be wondering why everyone is freaking out about a condiment. Well, Wilde reportedly made this “special dressing” to woo Harry Styles. Sudeikis seemed to be enamored by the special sauce as well—so much so that he was apparently incredibly distressed when he learned Wilde was making it for another man. He even reportedly “flung himself under [Wilde’s] car” to stop her from delivering it to Styles. (This alleged dramatic act did not cause the actor any harm, if you’re wondering.)

It immediately became clear that this wasn’t any old salad dressing. This was something else—something with possible love potion-like powers. People quickly became obsessed with unearthing the recipe and luckily, Wilde provided, posting a page from Nora Ephron’s Heartburn on her Instagram Story. The passage contained a very simple (but possibly also special) dressing recipe.

Now, I must say that Wilde’s post could be a troll. Heartburn just so happens to be an autobiographical novel about Ephron's marriage to and divorce from her second husband, Carl Bernstein. It’s about an affair, a breakdown of a relationship, heartbreak, and revenge. (Sound familiar?) Troll or not, I didn’t care. I was determined to make this salad dressing, and at that point, Ephron’s recipe was the only one I could reference.


I will pause at this point to clarify that I am not currently in the process of wooing anyone. I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost seven years, so it’s safe to say my wooing days are behind me. Still, I was interested to see what kind of effect this dressing would have on my boyfriend. If it could nab a world-famous pop star and celebrated actor, what would it do to a financier?

The recipe for Ephron’s dressing is very straightforward—two tablespoons of Grey Poupon mustard, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and six tablespoons of olive oil—but she gives little to no insight on what kind of salad with which to pair it. So I let my boyfriend decide. This was for him, after all. In a text, I asked which salad he wanted for dinner, to which he responded: “Maybe my mom’s arugula salad.” Now, this request was strange for two reasons. One, his mom’s arugula salad, while delicious, includes strawberries, which I would personally pair with a balsamic-based dressing, not mustard. Second, he was aware of the sexual undertones of this salad dressing, and yet he picked a salad that reminds him of his mom...We will definitely have to discuss that at a later point.

But like I said, I was on a mission. So I headed to Whole Foods, grabbed the ingredients, and whipped up the salad and dressing, a process which took all of five minutes. I then sent another text to my boyfriend: “I’m going to a barre class. The salad is in the fridge. DO NOT eat it until I get home. I want to be there.” He texted back immediately. “I’m going to fling myself under a cable car to prevent you from going to barre.”

Luckily, that did not happen. And when I returned from my workout, the salad remained untouched in the fridge and my boyfriend was unharmed on the couch. Pleased, I pulled out the salad, prepared him a bowl, and stood over him as he took a bite, excited to see what was about to happen. He chewed, swallowed, nodded, and went in for more. “SO??” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” he replied, without a hint of enthusiasm and definitely no more love than usual. He probably likes his mom’s better.