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What Is Salad Cream?

Salad greens.
Escarole is often included in salads.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2014
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Salad cream is a condiment developed by the Heinz Company in 1914 and sold predominantly in the United Kingdom, although it has become popular in some regions of the world with a large expatriate British population. For people unfamiliar with it, this condiment is probably most similar to mayonnaise in terms of composition and texture, although salad cream is slightly yellowish, rather than white, and its flavor is a bit more complex.

The basic ingredients of salad cream include: egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, vegetable oil, and sugar. Many versions are also lightly seasoned, coming in a variety of flavors to cater to various palates. Depending on the brand and the style, this condiment may be lower in fat than traditional mayonnaise, or roughly equivalent, and it can be spicy to sweet.

As the name of this condiment would suggest, it was originally developed for use on salads, either as a standalone dressing or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings. However, its uses have since widely expanded, and the condiment is now used as a sauce for a wide variety of things, including pizza, sandwiches, and various fried foods. Salad cream is slightly tangy, thanks to the vinegar, with a full mouthfeel and a hint of a kick from the mustard.

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The popularity of salad cream has waxed and waned. At some periods in history, it was viewed primarily as a condiment for the lower classes, and an alternative to mayonnaise, which tended to be more expensive. Middle and upper class families at one time avoided it because they did not want to be perceived as members of a lower class, but this is no longer the case today, although salad cream sometimes pops up in parodies of lower class life in the British media.

In the United Kingdom, this condiment is generally very easy to obtain, coming in a variety of packages and flavors for various needs. Outside of this region, it is sometimes available from large markets, especially if they carry British products, and it can also be ordered through exporters that ship British delicacies overseas. Some consumers desperate for salad cream may enlist the services of traveling friends or acquaintances living overseas to import small shipments for personal use.

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CopperPipe
Post 3

Is salad cream used only as a condiment, or can you actually use it as part of a cold salad? I have only seen people using it like you would salad dressing, but I'm on a bit of a short schedule to make my part of the family potluck tonight.

I'm supposed to make a seven layer salad with sour cream, but I can't find any sour cream, only an old tube of salad cream. Would that possibly work?

naturesgurl3
Post 2

I always wondered what that stuff was. I always thought that it was something you used in cold salad recipes, like a beet salad with sour cream, or those chicken salads made with cream cheese.

Now I know -- very informative article!

gregg1956
Post 1

I don't know, I've tried salad cream because one of my British friends insists on using it as part of her "secret" spinach/cucumber salad, but I just can't like the taste.

I've tried, but something about it just doesn't work for me -- to me, it's like making a salad with sour cream -- fine with taco salad, but sour cream or anything like it has no place on a regular old green salad, in my opinion.

But that's just me...

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