That Tangy Zip: 1989 Miracle Whip Hot & Spicy Chicken Nuggets

Just like there are Coke people and Pepsi people, and Stones people and Beatles people, there are Miracle Whip people and Mayonnaise people. Don’t believe me? Just get a few friends together and ask them. People are very passionate about their condiments.

In the 1980s I was raised in a strictly mayo household. My mother was raised mayo so that is how I was brought up. But my dad had a dark secret: he was a Miracle Whip in a house where the tangy zip was verboten.

When I was very young we would occasionally visit my great-grandmother Mom Jo’s house somewhere in the south hills of Pittsburgh. It was a little mid-century ranch-or at least I think it was because we were never in the actual house. We would enter through the garage (which was covered in grass-colored indoor/outdoor carpeting and furnished with a full patio set) and spend our time with her in her half-finished basement.

We’d sit at the picnic table (yes, she had a picnic table in her basement) and have lunch-she’d get a whole deli spread from the grocer-provolone and capicola, salami and prosciutto. And every time, without fail, it would emerge from the fridge: MIRACLE WHIP, that forbidden fruit.

If you think about it, there is mystery in its name: Miracle Whip.

So, as an adult who can do whatever the hell I want, I recently bought a jar of Miracle Whip. And now every time I open the fridge I have to make a big decision: mayo or Miracle Whip? And I find myself time and time again going for the Hellmann’s. The Miracle Whip has gone mostly untouched. Has it lost its luster?

I needed to find out. So, Kraft, show me what your salad dressing can do!

From a 1989 magazine advertisement, I am going to prepare your Hot & Spicy Chicken Nuggets.

Oh, white globby salad dressing, what miracles can you perform? Well, according to this 1989 ad, it can put spunk in your dunk (In Miracle Whip’s defense, we were living in a pre-Sex and the City world).

So this recipe couldn’t be any easier. Although mixing Miracle Whip and salsa did not sound like a good idea. Regardless, I did as I was told and mixed the Miracle Whip with some hot habanero salsa, and made the nuggets per the advertisement’s directions.

So after making the Hot & Spicy Chicken Nuggets I can confirm that yes, mixing Miracle Whip & Salsa is not a good idea. This was my thought after sampling the dunk:

Tastes like Miracle Whip and then like burning.

The nuggets fared better, but there wasn’t nearly enough crushed crackers for the chicken. Some of them were scantily clad, if you will. But I do think that the Miracle Whip was key in keeping those tiny nuggets of chicken moist.

So maybe I would incorporate some Miracle Whip the next time I do an oven-fried chicken. But I would want my dunk to be honey mustard or Sweet Baby Ray’s, thank you very much.


Yinzerella hails from Pittsburgh, PA and is the mastermind behind Dinner is Served 1972, a site devoted to the creation and celebration of mid-century food nightmares. She loves Pinot Grigio, the Lifetime Movie Network, and fantasy football. She hates canned tuna.

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