Salad cream is a creamy yellow viscous sauce condiment similar in ilk to mayonnaise. As the title suggests, this underrated sauce is a cream for adding to salads. Its ingredients (spirit vinegar, vegetable oil, water, sugar, mustard, salt, egg yolks, modified cornflour, xantham gum and guar gum as stabilisers, and riboflavin for colouring) are simple yet ingenious and cover the four main food groups, but like many other things the end product is greater than the sum of its parts.
salad cream was invented by Heinz in 1914. It soon rose to popularity with the working class masses in Britain throughout the 20th Century and became almost a part of the staple diet along with potatoes and rice pudding.
From the early 1990s until 2000 the popularity of salad cream waned for a cultural reason rather than of one of taste and perception. Mayonnaise came along with its decadent Spanish1 roots and began its hostile takeover.
The problem with salad cream at that point was its working class associations and with British society as it was then, many people turned to mayo almost as a part of an attempt to climb the social ladder. But now salad cream is starting to make a comeback and like guerrilla warfare it is staying small, gaining a cult following and is administering a social change. It is, after all, one of Britain's best kept secrets and the world's first socialist sauce.
When buying salad cream it is important to note that both the manufacturer and the container itself both have a huge impact on the taste. It is best to stick with the creators Heinz, but if budget is a constraint then supermarket brands are a good bet. Please avoid at all costs the little sachets of salad cream to be found at service stations and cheap eateries, as these are often poor imitations.
The salad cream container itself comes in two basic forms; the traditional glass and the new modern squeezy bottle. Although rare now it is possible and strongly advised to go with the glass. The reasons for this are that the glass bottle contains a thicker sauce. There's also the satisfaction factor - nothing beats the challenge of getting the thick sauce out of a solid container with the reward of a blob being spat out of the bottle after five minutes of serious bottle hammering.
The key factor that makes salad cream a utopian sauce is that it can be made part of any meal, either as a replacement for mayo, or even where mayo would not normally be considered. Its flavour enhancing properties mean that it complements almost any food stuff.
Some popular examples are:
Salad cream will go on just about any food substance. However, it is not recommended as a substitute for gravy or custard, but feel free to experiment! Perhaps one day the whole world will wake up to the delights of salad cream and abandon tomato ketchup and mayonnaise.
The world may then be a better place.