22 Oct 2006

Miracle Whip No More

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According to Michael J. Weiss’, a basic feature of American cultural geography is a clearly demarcated ”mayonnaise line” across the national map, which “separates the creamy Hellman’s mayonnaise buyers to the South from the tart Kraft Miracle Whip salad dressing lovers to the North.” I think it’s true. I’m from Pennsylvania, and I prefer Miracle Whip to Hellman’s. My wife is from Kansas City, and she takes the opposite position.

Trudy Schuett tells us the villains at Kraft have fiddled with the recipe for Miracle Whip, and the new version just isn’t the same.

When I was a kid growing up in the Detroit suburbs, there were two things you’d be most likely to put on a sandwich, or use to dress coleslaw or potato salad — mayonnaise (we pronounced it “manayse”) or Miracle Whip.

Most families were firm on which product they used. So much so, that I never used mayonnaise for anything until I got married and started experimenting with food. By the time my son was in his teens, and our house became the place to turn up when they were hungry for him and his friends, I kept both on hand. Even today there are strong preferences, and I use Miracle Whip for some things, and mayonnaise for others.

Lately, though, you may have noticed if you’re a Miracle Whip person, that your sandwiches don’t quite taste the same, and your coleslaw doesn’t hold up overnight.

That’s because the old standby you used and loved for decades is no longer the same product. They’ve changed the recipe! If you look on the label, you see the first ingredient is now water, not soybean oil as in the past. Since products (at least in the US) are labeled with ingredients in order of the amount, that means there is now more water than anything else.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

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