In Your Food: Sandwich part 2 – Spreads

All right, we have our corn-free bread ready to go. The next step is the spread. A sandwich isn’t complete without some kind of lubrication slathered on the bread. First up, the age-old controversy: mayonnaise or “salad dressing.”

Which of these you put on your sandwich is largely a matter of personal taste and how/where you were raised. I’ve always preferred mayonnaise.


mayonnaise

No HFCS, nor any sweetener at all, in sight. It’s got “natural flavor,” though. Hmm….maybe homemade is better (hold that thought).

“Salad dressing” as opposed to mayonnaise has HFCS.

salad dressing

I couldn’t find any that was sweetened with sugar at the grocery store. You could make your own at home and add sugar, I suppose. Here’s a basic mayonnaise recipe.

Caveat: I’m not advising you to eat raw eggs. Do it at your own risk. If you make this recipe, get the freshest eggs you can, or pasteurized eggs if you want, and wash them before you break them. Most of the bad stuff that gets into eggs hangs around on the shells.

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks
6 Tablespoons salad-oil (I use olive oil)
4 Tablespoons vinegar (I substitute lemon juice)
1 Tablespoon chicken stock
2 Tablespoons cream
salt and white pepper to taste

Preparation:

Put egg yolks in a mixing bowl or blender and season with pepper and salt. Gradually add oil and vinegar, blending or stirring constantly. When combined, add stock and cream, blending or stirring constantly. Refrigerate any unused portion. Keeps for about a week. If it separates, stir it back together.

This is a modern translation of a recipe from Mrs. Beeton’s Guide to Household Management (1861). Yes, I am a history buff. Also, I am fascinated, and slightly creeped out, by the idea of lobster-spawn (pounded). So here’s the original form, for your edification and amusement.

MAYONNAISE, a Sauce or Salad-Dressing for cold Chicken, Meat, and other cold Dishes.

468. INGREDIENTS.—The yolks of 2 eggs, 6 tablespoonfuls of salad-oil, 4 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, salt and white pepper to taste, 1 tablespoonful of white stock, No. 107, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream.

Mode.—Put the yolks of the eggs into a basin, with a seasoning of pepper and salt; have ready the above quantities of oil and vinegar, in separate vessels; add them very gradually to the eggs; continue stirring and rubbing the mixture with a wooden spoon, as herein consists the secret of having a nice smooth sauce. It cannot be stirred too frequently, and it should be made in a very cool place, or, if ice is at hand, it should be mixed over it. When the vinegar and oil are well incorporated with the eggs, add the stock and cream, stirring all the time, and it will then be ready for use.

For a fish Mayonnaise, this sauce may be coloured with lobster-spawn, pounded; and for poultry or meat, where variety is desired, a little parsley-juice may be used to add to its appearance. Cucumber, Tarragon, or any other flavoured vinegar, may be substituted for plain, where they are liked.

Now, on to other spreads. Mustard is safe, right? Well, usually – but watch out for the Honey Dijon. This one says “made with real honey!”

honey dijon

More corn syrup than honey.

This one looks better. Both honey and brown sugar, so a fair amount of sweetener, but at least no corn syrup.

honey mustard

On to spread #3, ketchup. A common hiding place for HFCS.

ketchup

Oh, goodie, both HFCS and corn syrup! Double the fun!

This one is better – no HFCS, but watch out for the “natural flavoring.”

ketchup - no HFCS

Why am I hung up on natural flavoring? In the past I have heard that the FDA permitted using “natural flavoring” for a variety of ingredients including monosodium glutamate (MSG), to which several of my family members are sensitive. I couldn’t find confirmation of that. In fact the opposite seems to be true – if I have read this FDA policy correctly (which quite possibly I haven’t – try reading it, you’ll see what I mean).

In case that’s not enough jargon for you, here’s another FDA code that says you have to label MSG by its name. Good news for me, but I’m still mistrustful of “natural flavorings” due to years of avoiding them. Here’s an article on flavorings both artificial and natural.

The FDA thinks that, in general, MSG is not harmful when consumed in small amounts. Having observed my family complaining about headaches and feeling unwell after eating foods that contain it, I tend to disagree. Here’s an article about “MSG poisoning.”

So, onward. If you’re being really careful, this ketchup is probably a good one for you.

ketchup - organic

Whew. And we haven’t even gotten to the guts of the sandwich yet.

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Comments

In Your Food: Sandwich part 2 – Spreads — 3 Comments

  1. Interesting to note that a UK-bought Heinz tomato ketchup which looks just like the one you pictured with the HFCS contans only: Tomatoes (132g per 100g ketchup); Spirit vinegar; Sugar; Salt; Spices and herb extracts (contains celery); Spice.

    • That is interesting. I wonder if the UK regulates HFCS? Or possibly it’s just because manufacturers in the US have more incentive to use corn products. HFCS is cheaper than cane sugar here.

  2. Some but not all MSG contains gluten, so I avoid it for multiple reasons. IIRC American MSG generally doesn’t contain gluten, but some foreign MSG does contain gluten. It’s been a while since I checked.

    So — I definitely avoid “natural flavorings” which often contain MSG, gluten, or both.