We do have only so much of the former, to spend, variously, at a given moment, or stretch of moments.
The latter--- it's funny we have these stock salad dressings, these shorthand names/types of liquidy stuff we pour on food or dip food in.
In 1954, Steve and Gayle Henson opened a dude ranch near Santa Barbara, California, and named it "Hidden Valley Ranch". As a side business, they sold to guests a special dressing that Steve had developed in Alaska. The dressing was popular, and they began selling bottles that guests could take home, and later opened a factory to sell packets of ranch seasoning that had to be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk (packets that are still available to this day). In 1972 the brand was bought by Clorox for $8 million.
Clorox reformulated the dressing several times to try to make it more convenient. The first change was to include buttermilk flavoring in the seasoning so that home chefs only had to add milk rather than buttermilk. In 1983, Clorox developed a non-refrigerated bottled formulation, making it even more popular.
Ranch became a common snack food flavor, starting with Cool Ranch Doritos in 1987, and Hidden Valley Ranch Wavy Lay's in 1994.
Ranch dressing is a common dipping sauce for vegetables such as broccoli and carrots, as well as "bar foods" such as french fries and chicken wings. It is also a common dipping sauce for fried foods such as fried mushrooms, fried zucchini, onion rings, and hush puppies. Additionally, ranch dressing is used on pizza, baked potatoes, wrap sandwiches, tacos, and hamburgers. It is especially popular in the South as a garnish for nearly all these foods.