Found this old ad at Miss Cellania’s, and as usual, it sent me off into a tangential tizzy:
Miracle Whip, says the ad copy, combines “the best qualities of good old-fashioned boiled dressing and fine mayonnaise.”
“Boiled dressing” is apparently before my time, so I went hunting for a description, and found one:
A Boiled Dressing can be thought of as sort of a Hollandaise Sauce for fresh vegetables. It draws on the principle that eggs and vinegar will emulsify in a liquid and form a creamy concoction. The base is usually eggs, vinegar, and a liquid such as cream, milk or water. Some recipes also use a small amount of flour or cornstarch as a thickener. Seasonings such as dry mustard, sugar and salt are added. Later versions would include a tablespoon of olive oil, showing that it was becoming available, but was still a luxury item.
The one thing it isn’t, curiously, is “boiled”; it’s actually simmered over a double boiler.
According to Kraft archivist Becky Haglund Tousey, Kraft developed the product in-house using a patented “emulsifying machine” (invented by Charles Chapman) to create a product blending mayonnaise product and less expensive salad dressing, sometimes called “boiled dressing.”
However, this story is disputed.
In Germany, the Kraft Foods spinoff Mondelēz International sells Miracle Whip as, um, Miracel Whip, presumably to match up with pronunciation in der Vaterland, though that WH combination doesn’t look the slightest bit Teutonic. I have no idea if the formula is any different, though it seems at least plausible that Germany, or the European Union as a whole, might actually have regulations affecting pseudo-mayo; says that same Wikipedia article, the modified corn starch and the inevitable high-fructose corn syrup are derived from non-GMO corn, which presumably would be easier than getting a new variety of maize past the EU’s GMO controls.
(Parenthetically: Once upon a time I inquired of my Twitter followers if there were a low-fructose corn syrup; I was directed to the nearest bottle of Karo.)