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Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's NOT the Mayo in Potato Salad That Makes You Sick

I really tire of the admonitions to not eat food with mayonnaise in the summer at picnics. People long ago warned me about making sandwiches for my children to take to school. I was considered foolhardy, risking the life of my little children.

First of all, I only use Miracle Whip. My mother made egg salad sandwiches for us in the 1950s. We took them to school and stored them in a school with no air conditioning. We also ate pineapple/MW sandwiches, peanut butter/MW/banana sandwiches, pimiento/cheese--all made with Miracle Whip. I understand this is less likely to spoil than mayonnaise.

So, I have no fear of these foods or Miracle Whip. I do keep potato salad cold, very cold and take ice to place under the serving bowl no matter where I take potato salad, which I rarely share at dinners away from my home.

I decided to Google information to present to you, information I read a few weeks ago that exonerated mayonnaise. The information was elusive, but I did find a Snopes entry that points where the elusive article pointed--to potatoes. People who become ill do so from a food borne earth pathogen that is found in potatoes. Sooo, the potatoes introduce the culprit pathogen!


Then, the article went on to implicate onions in illness. Thankfully, I never eat the raw, chopped onions offered at outdoor venues for hot dogs and hamburgers sold. However, I will store half an onion for later. Long ago, I quit eating potato salad brought to an event unless I personally knew who brought it and if I trusted that person. If I serve potato salad outdoors, I do toss the leftovers even though the bowl is in ice on the picnic table.

Oh yes, an onion in the room does not collect germs from the air, leaving you with clean air.

The article asserts that the mayo is a factor in keeping the food from spoiling. I believe that, but I will still refrigerate any food that says to "refrigerate after opening." I am just silly that way.

Read this article to find out more.

Mayo-less potato salad recipe
This recipe on the grill looks great and could be adapted for indoor cooking. I cannot post a video, so just follow this link for a scrumptious recipe..

Your turn
Do you, like I, still serve mayo or Miracle Whip without fear? Do you send sandwiches or take sandwiches that contain mayo or MW to store for eating later?


  1. Linda - i don't worry too much about mayonnaise or MW. when we go to functions here there are always trays of egg salad, tuna salad, ham salad sandwiches. some of the older ladies cut the crusts off - those are my favourite - i love the little finger sandwiches and i can eat 300 - bahahahah! also, pasta salads with mayo and MW are big here at our functions - i eat those too! i mostly bring bean salads - only because no one here ever makes them and people say that they enjoy them and the platter is always empty early on. but i am a big believer in that if the mayo looks crusty or yellow - don't eat it. but i have never been to a function where i saw crusty or yellowy mayo or MW.

    as for mayo-less potatoe salads, i call them warm potatoe salads, i make several versions. the recipe you linked to looks really good!

    your friend,

  2. kymber,
    I do know some iffy This one is grilled, the only reason I included it. I might fire up the grill. Thanks for the comment.

    1. iffy cooks - bahahahahah! and ick all at the same time!

      if you give that recipe a try you will have to take pics and tell us how it tastes. if you say it's good, i'll definitely make it!

      your friend,

  3. I don't use much mayonnaise simply because it's a fair amount of calories and fat. I don't like the lower calorie versions. I tend to make things where I can use balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Making your own real mayonnaise for one meal is really easy and probably more healthy.
    Now that we live so far out and there aren't churches, we aren't eating iffy food from questionable cooks ! LOL

  4. Jane,
    I eat Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise because Mayo is nasty to me. But, I discovered about ten years ago that MW has about 1/2 the calories of mayo. It works for me. I don't use raw eggs in anything that is not going to be cooked, so making my own is out. Even pasteurized eggs would be unpalatable. Oil and vinegar I can take, except I am allergic to vinegar. sigh. It is really good, though.

    I always hated to turn down a dish from a sweet old lady who was nasty. Even worse was that my children would get into food and I could not explain in public why I did not want them to eat it. My family reunion coming up will be the next "church dinner" I will eat from.

    1. There is a sweet taste to MW which I don't like. I keep some here because my boys like it on a few things, but I don't.
      Many times over the years elderly people would cook and bring food for the nurses.(As a thank you for compassionate care for a loved one) I never ate it, just as a matter of policy, and you would be surprised as to how many times the nurses who did got sick. I think sometimes, as people age, they are not as attentive to cleanliness in the kitchen as they might be. The last cheesecake my mother made before she died had a large clump of cigarette ash in it, which is something as a meticulous younger cook would never have happened to her.
      Linda, are you allergic to the vinegar or to the mold spores which can grow in vinegar ?
      I am allergic to molds and sometimes, some vinegars have a higher mold count than they should.

    2. Jane,
      Oh, yes, I just hope I don't get sloppy with food preparation as far as additions or lack of cleanliness.

      I have no idea which, although I am allergic to all mold. I wore earmuffs in the sunny South in late April because I had an earache. The ENT said I have angioedema (is that correct? Does not sound right) My throat is starting to swell shut when I have an earache or throat pain which was mistaken for swollen glands.

      Any pickle or anything pickled brings on this reaction. However, I can have a tiny bit of pickle in tuna salad or potato salad. I feel like I am choking if I bite into a pickle or get too much. I have been advised to give up pickles and vinegar permanently. Then, the next person/doctor says to get an epi pen.

      Basically, I avoid vinegars and fermented anything.

      Maybe vision is a problem with older people. I know I have been in the kitchen of older people who were serving me a meal. I came back to the table with no desire to eat the meal prepared for me. Nastiness was rampant in the kitchen even though the meal looked and tasted delicious. I am always going to people's kitchen for water since most elderly people serve sugared tea.

      Okay, I was young then, and now I am the Still, I am clean.

  5. I only used MW because it was cheaper. But I never liked the sweet TANG of MW. When I tried Helmanns mayonnaise, I lost my mind and even ate plain mayonnaise sandwiches til I calmed down. lol

    Nothing better than a mayo and warm tomato sandwich! Or sprinkle bacon bits and pretend it's a BLT.

    When we have a church chip-in, I always watch the door or table, and see who brought what. Then I tip Joe off, as in "Avoid the beans by HER, but you can eat the beans by HER based on their cleanliness or number of cats scurrying on their countertops at home. lol

    Hey, ya gotta use common sense!

  6. lotta joy,
    Miracle Whip is cheaper? Not here. I just love it. I can see your mayo sandwich eating spree. Now, I want a BLT and I have alllll the ingredients. It has to be toasted bread!

    Oh, yes, cats on the counter turn me off. I used to do that too for my husband and just tried to keep the kids out of some dishes. They were not allowed to dip their own food when they were little, but when they could, I had my hands full steering them to clean food.

  7. Well you know I sold for Kraft Foods for something like 18 years. Here MW and Kraft Mayo are priced the same. One of the joys of not working for Kraft anymore is now I don't feel obligated to only buy Kraft items. I would take Best Foods (Helmann's east of the Rockys) mayonnaise any day over Kraft Mayo. When I worked for the company I always bought what I sold.... Oscar Mayer, Post cereals, Baker's chocolate, Yuban coffee etc.

    Miracle Whip is too sweet for me. My Mom used it when I was growing up but as an adult I prefer mayonnaise. I think I may give MW a try again....I don't think I have had any in 30 years. Who knows? I might like it now.

  8. I love Miracle Whip. We use nothing else.

    Lisa @ Happy Girl Thrift

    1. Lisa,
      I use nothing else either. That said, exbf only likes mayo. And, I have one recipe that must have mayo. I ruined that recipe once when I substituted MW for mayo. Thanks for the comment.


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