I believe that bottled Russian Dressing has been the retail substitute for true Ruben Sandwich-Russian Dressing for about 30 years now. I understand that restaurants have had to economize and this may be one of the areas were that was tolerated. But I hope to propose to you pro chefs out there to try this recipe and see if it isn't better than bottled. One caveat, there are no more mayonnaise machines, so use your food processor.
I believe that the First Ruben Sandwich I ever ate was at a now defunct Department Store in St. Louis. Named: Stix, Baer and Fuller, it was in the nice Lunch Room on one of the upper floors. I must have been about 12 years old at the time. Mom had me downtown with her, I don't remember why, but I do remember her suggesting the Ruben Sandwich to me. So I tried it. Most of you reading this can't know that St. Louis has a vibrant Jewish community (mostly in the suburb inaptly named: University City. Thus the proper name of the incorported area is The City of University City). Back to my thesis. The Ruben was great and what I most remembered is the dressing. At the age of 12 I was no food expert. Well I was an expert in Hamburger and French Fries from Steak 'n Shake. But I surely didn't know Ruben Dressing from ketchup.
Decades have now passed and as many Rubens have crossed my lips. Yet none of them ever excelled that first one. I believe this is due to the fact that the sandwich at Stix was made with real Russian Dressing. It wasn't cooked so it had a fresh flavor never equaled or duplicated again in my lifetime.
Imagine my joy when I found what I believe to be the original recipe in:
Author Campbell, Clyde H. (Clyde Henderson), 1883-1946.
Title(s) Campbell's book.
Edition 3d ed. rev. by Rohland A. Isker and Walter A. Maclinn.
Publisher Chi., Vance Pub. Corp. c1950.
On page 165, I have:
Russian Dressing for Ruben Sandwiches
* 1 gallon carrots,grated
* 1 gallon beets, grated
* 1 gallon onions,grated
* 6 gallons Mayonnaise
This product is not stable and should be made fresh for local trade. If the product is to be kept, it should be pasteurized 30 minutes at 160° F. This is supposed to be the genuine Russian dressing. If the raw materials are to be kept any time before being use, they should be covered with strong vinegar. Of course, this vinegar must be removed by pressing or draining before using the materials."
For those not in the business of making Russian Dressing for a large group, to 1 quart of mayonnaise, add 5-6 ounces each of the above ingredients. Mix well, so that the dressing has no grittiness from the vegetables.