A few weeks ago, I told you guys to pick a condiment. You picked it, and then you wondered what the hell to do with your choice.
Some of you decided to venture out into making your own version of that condiment. How dope is that? If you did, send me a photo so I can show the rest of the #bgg2wlarmy (a term lovingly coined by @miss_hellion….I wonder how the @GoArmy team feels about that one, ha!) whatcha workin’ with!
Some of you just went out and found clean versions of your chosen condiment. This… is also great. The fewer the weird-stuff in your food, the better!
In fact, let’s look at some of the ones I’ve found:
First of all, I hate to break it to y’all… but this stuff isn’t even mayonnaise. I know y’all are out here using it as “sandwich spread,” or even – God, help you – dressing for your macaroni and potato salads, but it’s not mayo. Look again – they don’t even call it mayonnaise on the label anymore! I’m just saying. It might be time to let this stuff go.
Besides. Look at the label, for goodness sakes.
It even compares itself to mayonnaise. Right there – across from the fat and cholesterol information. Whew.
Before you look at it and believe that it’s “still okay” just because the numbers appear to be low, remind yourself: are you seriously only using 1 tablespoon of the stuff? Or are you using at least 2 tablespoons per each slice of your bread for your sandwich? Be honest with yourself about that.
And then, think to yourself, that the first five of fourteen ingredients are “water, soybean oil, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, and modified food starch,” which is similar to cornstarch.
And then remember that mayonnaise has maybe 5 ingredients, unless you’re doing something fancy.
Okay. Enough berating of the “dressing.”
“[GMO] Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA,” natural flavors.
Sigh. At least we’re a bit closer to what an actual mayonnaise recipe looks like. Let’s break this down a bit, shall we?
Mayo, typically, is a combination of egg, oil, salt.
Ain’t much more to it.
Egg and oil blended together carefully, slowly, creates an emulsion that results in a creamy, smooth and, yes, oily concoction that adds all kinds of texture to even the driest and most plain recipes. That’s why mayo goes wonderfully on whole wheat breads – I’m not even gon’ lie, the stuff has the texture of cardboard, sometimes – and is the dressing of choice for a good potato salad (unless you like ’em German?) or macaroni salad. I mean, the stuff is awesome… but it’s serious business. Add parsley to it (flat, not curly), black pepper, vinegar, chipotle, aleppo, lemon juice, oregano… whatever. Get fancy. Or don’t. Either way, it’s good stuff.
And it shouldn’t require 5 tablespoons for you to know its there, or for it to do its magic.
That explains the egg, oil – though this choice of oil is a fail… assume any appearance of soy in a processed food product is GMO – salt, lemon juice, vinegar… and we already know what that sugar is about. It’s always gotta have sugar.
But what’s that Calcium Disodium EDTA about?
According to What’s That Ingredient, Calcium Disodium EDTA is, “made from formaldehyde, sodium cayanide, and Ethylenediamine.”
According to Oregon State University’s Food Glossary,
Used in canned and carbonated soft drinks for flavor retention; in canned white potatoes and cooked canned clams for color retention; in crab meat to retard struvite (crystal) formation; in dressings as a preservative; in cooked and canned dried lima beans for color retention; in fermented malt beverages to prevent gushing; in mayonnaise and oleomargarine as a preservative; in processed dried pinto beans for color retention; and in sandwich spreads as a preservative. Used medically as a chelating agent to detoxify poisoning by lead and other heavy metals. May cause intestinal upsets, muscle cramps, kidney damage, and blood in urine.
Does it have a backstory? Melanie Warner has a guess:
“In 2006, the beverage industry acknowledged that when ascorbic acid and either sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate were combined in certain conditions, small amounts of benzene, a substance known to cause leukemia and other cancers, were formed. This occurred in products like Sunkist Grape and Orange sodas, Kool-Aid Jammers orange drink, Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange drink, and Giant Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail. The solution in many cases was the addition of another chemical that could blunt the formation of benzene– the preservative calcium disodium EDTA. Widely used in sauces and condiments, calcium disodium EDTA (the EDTA stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) has been shown to cause kidney damage in laboratory animals, and in sensitive individuals it can result in upset stomach and muscle cramps.”
Listen. I live in Brooklyn. I can get artisanal homemade hand-canned pickles and sausage if I cared. But when I go home to my mom in Indiana, chances are high that she’s got Miracle Whip in the fridge (no matter how much I fuss at her.)
What do I swap it out with?
Avocados, man. Keep it simple. Seriously.
Take your super-ripe avocados, peel them, chop them into chunks, put them in a bowl. Take a fork – or potato masher, if you’ve got it – and start to mash your avocado. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on them, and give it a moment.
Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on the mixture as you’re whipping it; the citrus helps preserve the avocado. I’d say about a teaspoon or two for every whole avocado you’re working with.
Chop up some raw garlic into fine pieces. Throw it in there. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Beat it up, beat it up.
The consistency of your spread – meaning, whether it’s super thick or super thin – totally depends on you. I’d start with a tablespoon, and add more if that’s what you desire. If you’d prefer less? Keep that in mind for next time. More? Have at it! But remember; it’s a spread. Not soup.
Add a handful of finely-chopped cilantro. Or not. You can do what I did and add a half-teaspoon of ground chipotle. Or not. Even at this point, you’ve got something delicious that you can totally play with. Don’t be afraid!
With my spread, since the grocery store had sourdough bread on sale, I snapped up a loaf and spread it all around. Eddy loves a good sandwich, so I started plotting.
I grabbed some turkey bacon, some thin-sliced chicken breasts, and rubbed them both down with a Mexican-inspired blend of cumin, chipotle, aleppo, smoked paprika and cilantro. My rub might’ve consisted of about a teaspoon of each. Cut up a couple of beefsteak tomatoes, a head of leafy green lettuce. Stacked it up.
The end. Go eat.