I’m going to say this really fast, and then we can all forget I said it, okay?
I can’t help it. I positively HATE mayonnaise, and I’m really no bigger fan of Miracle Whip than I am of mayo — which is to say that I avoid both of them at almost any cost. (A well-made aioli, by the way, is something different. So I guess I like SNOB mayonnaise, is what I’m saying.) But despite my dislike of both items, I grew up eating my mother’s potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, and deviled eggs, all of which were made not with plain old mayo but with the “Tangy Zip” of TV commercial fame, and I developed a taste for it — in those situations ONLY. I wouldn’t eat the stuff on a sandwich if you paid me. But God help me, I still love her potato salad.
The problem is, I spent quite a long time figuring that the number of times per year I might eat potato salad, egg salad, or deviled eggs was so minute that I might as well just buy a little jar of Miracle Whip and keep it on hand, ignoring the ingredients altogether. I was right, technically; I make potato salad maybe once a year, and deviled eggs are pretty much only a way to use up all the dyed Easter eggs nobody else will eat. For just about a decade, my Emergency Whip strategy worked fine. But I’ve hit a wall.
I just can’t bring myself to do it anymore. I can’t pick up that jar (and frankly, since I’ve migrated pretty much all of my grocery shopping to Farmer’s markets and Whole Foods, I mean I PHYSICALLY can’t pick up that jar at the places I’m doing my food sourcing). I mean, as my mother has pointed out, “It’s just mayonnaise with vinegar.” EXCEPT THAT IT’S NOT.
It’s crappy mayonnaise, to start with. And then it’s got, yes, extra vinegar; plus some spices, which are okay; and a whole heaping dose of High Fructose Corn Syrup. So when I really stopped to think about it, to me — an avowed hater of almost all mayo, especially gross mayo, and someone who avoids HFCS at pretty much all costs — the purchase of a jar of Miracle Whip is sort of like buying a big old jar of hypocrisy with a little touch of obesogens (for flavor).
So on the Fourth of July, when I decided to make an All-American cookout meal for me, J., and the boys, I knew I HAD to figure out a way to avoid the hypocrisy-slathered obesogen salad, but I just couldn’t get excited about an “alternative” potato salad. I wanted the potato salad of my youth. Or, I wanted the TASTE of that potato salad, but without any ingredients I’d have to shove forcibly to the back of my mind and confront in a dark alley of self-loathing later.
But then again, High Fructose Corn Syrup aside, Miracle Whip IS just mayo with vinegar…sort of…
Lest there be any lingering doubts about just how crazy I can be in the kitchen, let me assure you that it IS possible to make a homemade Miracle Whip that probably won’t make you hate yourself for liking it. In fact, you don’t even have to TELL yourself that it’s a Whip facsimile. You can just pretend it’s a dressing, and leave it at that. I guarantee most of you will enjoy it more that way. The Whip part can be our dirty little secret, ‘kay? I’ll never tell.
But that’s EXACTLY what this is. It’s tangy. It’s zippy. It’s, you know, a minor kitchen Miracle. Of the whipped variety.
Homemade Miracle Whip. Yes, You Read That Correctly.
1/4 cup GOOD QUALITY mayonnaise. It can be jarred, that’s fine, but get one with very few ingredients.
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. That’s it.
And, because I may have sort of cheated you with that particular recipe, I ALSO happened to figure out a really easy way to make a great homemade pickle relish that requires very little cooking and no complex canning procedures. So I’m rewarding you for reading this horrible Miracle Whip post with pickle relish, because I want you to come back someday.
Lazy Girl’s Pickle Relish
1 ½ cups finely diced pickling cucumber
¾ cup finely diced onion
¾ cup finely diced bell pepper
1 tablespoon pickling salt
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. dry mustard
Mix diced vegetables with canning salt and set on a clean non-terry towel or a double thickness of paper towel in a colander. Cover with another towel or double-thick paper towel and weigh down with an empty canning jar or other medium weight. Let the vegetables drain for 1-2 hours, then squeeze vigorously to remove extra moisture.
Place the drained vegetables in a small saucepan with the sugar, vinegar, and spices over medium-high heat. When the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for another 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Transfer the relish to a clean dish and cool completely before serving.