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Reporting, Brewing and Russian Dressing

Russian Dressing

“One small Spanish onion, 1 can pimentos, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, dash of cayenne, 1 cup oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 large green pepper, chop all fine. 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 cup vinegar, ½ cup sugar, Stir well, add onion, pepper and pimento mixture. Put in jar. Will keep a month [the Castle test kitchen does not endorse storing it for this length of time.] Maude R. Schemm”

-- From the 1929 edition of First Congregational Church’s Saginaw Cookbook

Our interpretation of Maude Ripley Schemm’s Russian Dressing

  • 1 Small Spanish onion

  • 1 4 oz container pimentos

  • 1 large green pepper

  • 1 cup oil, Canola

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup Sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Dash of cayenne pepper


Finely chop onion, pimentos and pepper and set aside. Combine other ingredients and whisk until all ingredients are combined and sugar is fully dissolved. Add onion, pimento and pepper and stir. Pour into storage container. Refrigerate until used.


The resulting dressing is sweet and almost relish-like in its consistency. For those of us of a certain age, it has a nostalgic mid-century flavor. Our test kitchen crew rather loved it.

As noted, we are uncertain of its shelf-life and do not recommend storing it for a month. Also, keep in mind that the preparation outlined in the original recipe does not create a stable emulsion. You will need to stir or shake the dressing before using it.

Maude Ripley Schemm: The Woman Behind the Russian Dressing Recipe

“The afternoon at the residence of Henry C. Ripley, on South Washington avenue, Miss Maude C. Ripley and Dr. George C. Schemm were united in marriage, Rev. W. H. Gallagher officiating. It was distinctively a family wedding, no invitations being issued.”

-- The Detroit Free Press, June 2, 1898

We have included a transcription of Maude Ripley Schemm’s obituary. Although it provides a summary of her life and many accomplishments - one of Saginaw’s first (if not first) female newspaper reporters, civic leader, house mother for a sorority at the University of Michigan and mother of three sons, it fails to note that she became the vice-president of Schemm Brewery after her husband’s passing and served as the inspiration for her daughter-in-law’s novel, The Brewer’s Big Horses.

After her death, a memorial cross was donated in her memory to St. John’s Episcopal Church and her family created a scholarship in her name.

Maude Ripley Schemm’s obituary from the Saginaw News, March 28, 1943:

“Mrs. G. C. Schemm Claimed by Death: Reporter, Civic Leader – Funeral Tuesday”

“The Funeral of Mrs. George C. Schemm, 72, widow of Dr. Schemm and for many years one of Saginaw’s prominent public-spirited women, who died Saturday at Great Falls, Mont., will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. John’s Episcopal church. Rev. Emil Montanus will officiate and burial will be in Forest Lawn.”

“Mrs. Schemm, the former Maude Ripley, was born Maude Nov. 22, 1870, in Saginaw, a daughter of the late Henry Clay and Emma Ashley Ripley, pioneer east side residents. She attended public schools here and for several years was on the reportorial staff of The Evening News during the editorship of the late John T. Winship. She proved an able reporter and musical-dramatic critic. She left the staff upon her marriage to the late Dr. Schemm, whose promising career was cut short by an early death. Mrs. Schemm took a leading part in civic affairs and was a devout member of St. Paul’s Episcopal church and later of St. John’s Episcopal church when after her marriage she made her home on the west side. She left Saginaw a number of years ago, first going to Ann Arbor, where for several years she was house mother of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house. During recent years she divided her time between living with her sons and visiting friends here.”

“She leaves three sons, George A. Schemm of Grosse Point, Dr. Ferdinand Schemm of Great Falls, Mont., at whose home she died, and Ripley Schemm of Detroit.”

The residence that Maude Ripley and George C. Schemm had constructed remains a North Michigan Avenue landmark. After being used for office and apartments, it was purchased by Ann Branch and her late husband, Greg, who undertook the mammoth task of returning it to a single-family home

The album includes: a wedding photograph of Maude Ripley and George C. Schemm, a portrait of Maude C. Schemm, images of the Schemm Home on North Michigan Avenue, photographs of the Schemm Brewery on Hamilton and the interior of St John's Episcopal Church.

We wish to thank Lynn Schemm Harding, Ann Branch and St. John's Episcopal Church for providing photographs.

This link will take you an article featuring more information about the Schemm home:

This link will take you to an earlier post featuring Maude Ripley Schemm’s Mother’s recipe for Waldorf Salad:


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