Growing up, I idolized Katie Couric. I distinctly remember sitting in the band room my senior year of high school (hi, former band geek here; nice to meet you!), telling Mr. Perroni that I wanted to be just like Couric one day. He took a beat, looked at me, and said, “Yeah, I can see that.” And while I did graduate with a degree in journalism, I ultimately chose print over broadcast. Now, years and years later, my obsession with Couric has been rekindled — all thanks to her fiery, impassioned hatred for the scourge of the condiments aisle: Miracle Whip.
Simply put, Miracle Whip is disgusting, and although Couric doesn’t use those exact words in her Grub Street Diet food diary feature, it’s clear she’s not a fan.
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Couric started the food diary innocently enough. She talks about how she’s “letting herself” put Splenda in her large, iced hazelnut coffee splashed with half-and-half, followed by a brief anecdote about how Bobby Flay once brought her “flaky and delicious” Maldon salt at a party and how she’s “never looked back” since.
Here’s where it gets very real, though.
For dinner, Couric says she eats tomato sandwiches with a glass of rosé. (God, I love this woman.) She says the sandwich has to be on white bread — she uses Pepperidge Farm white bread — and that she slathers the bread with Hellman’s mayo, “which is the best mayo,” she asserts.
“I love mayo,” Couric continues, followed by a deeply resonating statement: “I don’t get along with people who prefer Miracle Whip.”
Oh, Couric: my mayo queen, my kindred spirit, my forever idol. Who knew she had such strong feelings about mayonnaise? And I proudly enlist in the Couric Miracle Whip-Detesting Army to spread the good word that Hellman’s is the rightful mayonnaise king. No need to @ us — because you know we’re right.
“Someone on Instagram suggested I try Duke’s mayonnaise, which is made in Richmond, Virginia, my home state, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in New York. Also, I’d feel unfaithful to Hellmann’s, which is such the mayonnaise of my youth,” she says. And maybe this is why I relate to Couric’s love for Hellman’s; growing up, my grandmother, who also grew up in Virginia and currently lives in Tennessee where I visit her, always used Hellman’s, especially in her chicken salad recipe.
But here’s where it gets sticky: My own mother uses Miracle Whip. So much so, she even uses it in the potato salad recipe she whips up literally every Thanksgiving — and only the lord knows how deeply I love that holiday dish of ours. But don’t get it twisted; that doesn’t mean I prefer Miracle Whip, and it doesn’t mean Couric will never get along with me. (At least, I hope?)
The bottom line is: Miracle Whip isn’t mayo. Miracle Whip was originally developed as a cheaper alternative to mayo, and while it has less fat and less oil, it contains refined ingredients, including soybean oil and high-fructose corn syrup, which makes it taste sweeter than your traditional mayonnaise. So, if you want real mayo, skip the Miracle Whip.
To read the rest of Couric’s food diary, which we highly recommend, head over to Grub Street.
In the meantime, long live Hellman’s.