Miracle Whip vs. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Which Team are You On? [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
How do you like your potato salad? What’s your favorite condiment on a chicken sandwich? Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I was raised on Miracle Whip. A recent conversation with friends seemed to inform me that I was brought up missing out on pure mayonnaise. So, what’s the difference and which is best?
Mayonnaise is condiment sauce made up of oil, egg yolk, vinegar or lemon juice.
Early accounts say that as long as there has been olive oil, there has been some form of mayonnaise. Another account says it was discovered accidentally by a British woman in 1459, who was trying to create a custard.
However it happened, it appears the French first exported it into their country after defeating the British in a port battle in 1756. The name was derived from the word moyeu, which is French for egg. Another account says it may have finally earned the official name mayonnaise after Charles de Lorraine, duke of Mayenne, who finished his chicken dinner with the sauce on the side before being defeated in a major battle.
While the are various reports of its creation overseas, the product’s roots in the United States is much more clear.
In the US, mayonnaise was first sold in New York City’s Upper West Side. In 1905, the first ready made mayo was on sale at Richard Hellmann’s deli on Columbus Avenue. After being a local success, it was mass marked 7 years later and introduced as Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.
At the same time on the West Coast, Best Foods created their own version of mayonnaise which became very popular on their side of the country. Best Foods eventually bought the Hellmann’s company in the early 1930’s, but the demand was so high for both products that the company kept both lines in production. Best Food’s logo was nearly identical to Hellmann’s well into the 21st century. Both products taste can be nearly identical as they are produced in the same plant.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay had a partnership with Hellmann’s to produce recipes for consumers and even had his own looping video channel on Dish Network where he cooked with Hellmann’s products.
In the south, Duke’s Mayonnaise became popular in 1917 after it was sold by a local housewife, on sandwiches for the troops at Fort Sevier, South Carolina. While it is widely popular in the southeast, the product is harder to find elsewhere.
In other countries, mayonnaise takes on a much more local ethnic flavor.
Japan: mixed with apple cider or rice vinegar and MSG. It is mostly sold in soft plastic squeeze bottles
Europe: often served with French fries or potato chips (a friend of mine once gained a ton of weight eating fries with mayo. He has since dropped the pounds.)
Russia: made with sunflower seed oil and is more popular than ketchup
Chile: only became available in the 1980’s, but the product has taken off. Chileans enjoy mayo on hot dogs, French fries, chopped potatoes, and in salads
Italy: American fast food giant McDonald’s has a line of mayonnaise on store shelves.
Mayonnaise is also the base to create a good tarter sauce, simply add relish.
Some salad dressings are also based on mayonnaise. Ranch dressing is mayo with buttermilk, sour cream, green onions, and other seasonings. Thousand Island dressing can be made by adding ketchup, relish, and mustard.
Some varieties of honey mustard dressing also use mayonnaise as a base. This can be made to taste by adding lemon juice, mustard seed, and brown sugar.
One sauce that I have to try that sounds incredible is Fry sauce. It is mostly served in the northwestern United States and is mayo blended with ketchup, buffalo or BBQ sauce, spices, and Worcestershire sauce. I’ve had a bottle of Worcestershire sauce sitting in my pantry for months and it looks like I’ve finally found a good use for it!
Growing up in rural western Pennsylvania, all the craze was mostly about Miracle Whip and the taste is quite different.
Miracle Whip debuted to the masses by Kraft Foods at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago as a cheaper alternative to mayo. It became an immediate success and Kraft rolled it out nationwide.
While not being branded as “mayonnaise,” it is sold as a “sandwich spread” and “salad dressing.” Since the name is owned by Kraft, any generic or knock-off companies are prevented from using the name and usually sell similar generic products as a salad dressing.
Compared to true mayonnaise, Miracle Whip has a sweeter taste and contains many more ingredients. Some 20 spices are used by Kraft in the product. Kraft paid singer Lady Gaga a hefty sum to include Miracle Whip in the music video for her song, Telephone.
Miracle Whip is also a kosher product.
With all the marketing and sales by both companies, we’re getting close to a Hellmann’s vs. Miracle Whip war. While both have released lighter, low calorie versions, only Hellmann’s has created new flavors of their product.
Hellmann’s most popular spin-off is their Dijonaise brand of dressings, which is Hellmann’s mayonnaise mixed with Dijon mustard. It makes a great sandwich topper! Hellmann’s also offers versions mixed with canola oil, garlic (UK only), relish, lime juice, and extra version olive oil.
Kraft however, has released flavored versions of pure mayonnaise with Chipotle, Horseradish-Dijon, Hot, and Garlic flavors. While these are also quite good, they are generally sandwich dressings and not made or marketed with Miracle Whip. I have tried both the Garlic and Dijon flavors and they do make a good sandwich.
For vegans, those with egg allergies, and religious purposes where mayo is off-limits, several popular non-egg friendly brands can be found on store shelves including Nayonaise and Veganaise.
Back home in Pennsylvania, the area’s choice of product was Miracle Whip. Not to say there aren’t Hellmann’s families, but I’d rather slather it on sandwiches and feel that you can’t make a potato, chicken, macaroni, or turkey salad without it. I’ve even eaten it in a bowl with just lettuce! So, maybe I’m missing out on something, but in the mayo wars – Miracle Whip is my clear winner.
And what ever happened to the glass jars that both products used to be sold in? Glass is cheaper and consumers were able to reuse or recycle the containers. I can never get it all out with the squeeze bottles and usually try to avoid them. With the price of oil and petroleum going up, let’s go back to glass! It was a great way to get your logo out there as free advertising. My grandmother would can pickles and give away the jars!
What: salad or sandwich dressing and condiment
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS: I’m on team Miracle Whip and think the taste is just a better product. No generic brand has ever given them a serious challenge. While, I don’t dislike the taste of Hellmann’s or other mayo, I would much rather have a dollop of Miracle Whip on my foods. I also appreciate any restaurant that serves packets of Miracle Whip as an option to Hellmann’s or regular mayo.
So, tell me which you think is better! Miracle Whip, Hellmann’s, or regular mayonnaise. I’d love to know… maybe I’m missing out on something?
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