Why Mayonnaise Matters | + Potato Salad Recipes Featuring Duke’s Mayonnaise

I was never picky about mayonnaise. Why would I be? It’s just oil and egg yolks, right?

Mayonnaise was mayonnaise – I didn’t waste brain power over it.

Then I started a salad dressing company.  I soon came to realize I’d have to begin caring about mayonnaise, a lot. And quick.

Soon after my parents settled in Lexington, Virginia, I heard my mom mention buying Duke’s Mayonnaise when she goes to the grocery store – a new pantry staple she adores. She told me it was a southern thing. Well, hey now – I love southern food.

I tasted it. I loved it. I was all in.

Compared to other mayonnaises, you can always count on a bigger tang, heftier flavor, and a gorgeous yolk-yellow hue that we can attribute to the larger quantity of yolks Duke’s has been using in their recipe for over 80 years. Tradition – sticking to your guns, and not changing who you are – are just a few other reasons I’m a big fan of that company.

Although Pennsylvania is above the Mason-Dixon line, I had been told and seen for myself that it maintains some small but noticeable southern food roots to it.

Things like pimento cheese and hush puppie-esque fry-bites are written on chalkboard signs in the small towns across Happy Valley. The region has, over time, melded together a congregation of southern, Amish and German influence into their food. Potato salad, I like to think, really encapsulates what eating, home cooking and living in Amish country is all about.

I’d written previously about the magic of potato salad in my recipe for Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Salad. I hit on this there, but there’s something uncannily familiar, homey and simple about potato salad that makes it such a ubiquitously-loved American staple. That, and it’s outrageously delicious.

As our inaugural post for Hankerings Dressings release, I thought it would be fitting to publish four generations’ worth of potato salad recipes – from my great-grandmother down to me. All will feature Duke’s Mayonnaise, of course.

Thank you, to my grandmother, aunt and mother – not just your help gathering recipes. I’m grateful to be a part of this process as you recount the smallest memories of my great-grandmother’s love for food, and want to thank you for always emanating more love and care than I know what to do with. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am.

Now onto the potato salad lineup – with three variations to choose from; you won’t run out of potato salad recipes for barbecues this summer. Let us know which is your favorite!

What are your favorite passed down family recipes for potato salad? Share them here!

Mattie’s (Mammie’s) Potato Salad


  • 2 lbs. white boiling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1 / 2 or 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cream
  • 2 cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • Celery seed, for finishing


  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with the celery seed.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Marcy’s (Grandmom’s) Potato Salad

*Note that my Marcy’s potato salad recipe has one small tweak from Mattie’s – she adds hard boiled eggs, pimentos, and dill pickle relish & juice!


  • 2 lbs. white boiling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1 / 2 or 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pimentos, minced
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cream
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons dill pickle relish, plus 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice, reserving extra dill pickle relish for garnish
  • Celery seed, for garnish


  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with the dill pickle relish.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Liz’s (Mom’s) Potato Salad


  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 / 2 medium red onion, small diced, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 small jar pimentos, drained
  • 1 Claussen pickle, minced, plus 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1 1 / 2 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • Heavy pinch of salt
  • Heavy pinch of pepper
  • Paprika, for garnish


  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with paprika.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Christine’s Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Salad

Recipe here!

Hot Ring Bologna with Chow Chow

One of the most beloved foods my mom ate during her trips to visit her grandmother in Salona, Pennsylvania was hot ring bologna.

Every nook and cranny in this world has its version of a salty, cured and freaky-good processed meat product. This one, pictured below, is what you’ll find in gas stations, butcher shops, and mom and pop shops across Western Pennsylvania. Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’d be a clown not to try it.


I’m a vocal fan of processed meats. Hot dogs, Spam, Slim Jims, really – any meat in a can or a forced into an unnatural round or square shape will do it for me.

Not that I don’t love real-deal proteins, like a just-arrived-from-New-Zealand, gore-y rack of lamb. That undeniably delicious – read: salty & fatty flavor – and my total ambivalence over what part of the animal I’m eating inevitably draws me to tubular shaped foods like ring bologna.

I asked her how she ate this – imagining a very specific cooking process, or maybe a go-to sandwich on a very specific bun with very specific toppings. It turns out, they just ate it. They’d cut it into pieces and eat it cold. It’s cooked & cured to hell and back, so there’s no need to complicate things.


But I like to complicate things. I wanted to get it sizzly, and render some of that fat, and serve it family-style right out of the pan for swift ingestion. So that’s what I did. Topped with local Chow Chow, which is a spicy, pickled garden vegetable medley you’ll find in Centre County where my family hails from, I can’t think of a dish that sums up eating in that part of the country better. Serve it with a German-inspired whole grain mustard sauce with two ingredients – mustard & some sour cream, for an added Oktoberfest vibe.


Eat a whoopie pie afterward, and you’re really indulging like a Western Pennsylvania native.

Too bad for us because I’d, predictably, already eaten all the whoopie pies.


Serves 2 – 3 as an appetizer.

          1 hot ring bologna, brand of your choosing

          4 – 6 tablespoons Chow Chow, brand of your choosing

          1 / 4 cup whole grain mustard

          1 / 4 cup sour cream


1.       Combine the whole grain mustard and sour cream. Set aside.

2.       Cut the ring bologna into 1 / 2 inch slices, on the diagonal. Remove the outer casing.

3.       Heat a skillet on high, add the bologna, and render the fat in the skillet, cooking on medium-high for 8 minutes or so.

4.       Remove from the heat, top with the Chow Chow, and serve alongside the mustard sauce, or pour dollops on top of the bologna and Chow Chow. Serve hot.










Deviled Jalapenos

What makes a food devilable?

Because I would devil a glass of water if I could.

I’ve oogled over Trisha Yearwood’s Deviled Potatoes. And recently, learned about a deviled crab recipe that originated in the American south. I’m sure there’s a million versions. A food capable of holding in filling must be a requirement, but I gave my imagination ample space to run wild after that.


Enter jalapenos.

This wouldn’t cut it as a crowd-pleasing recipe – I don’t think. You can remove the seeds and membranes, and leave out the pickled jalapeno if you need to cut some of the burn, but you’re still chomping into a raw jalapeno.

An obvious alternative? Use the sweet, small tri-colored peppers you can usually get in bulk at any grocery store nowadays. If you want to go this route, just substitute the sweet peppers and nix the pickled jalapeno – the preparation instructions will remain the same, with an equally scrumptious outcome.

I’ve been contemplating new ideas for game day bites that can be made ahead of time and tossed on the coffee table. I’ve already made enough buffalo chicken dip in my life to fill a 10-foot hole in the ground.

But my boyfriend can’t tolerate spicy food, even in moderate amounts. I had purportedly added hot sauce to a dish, and after a minute of did-I-didn’t-I, we realized he was feeling heat from the black pepper that must’ve been a bit too freshly cracked.

I haven’t isolated a hard and fast rule as to what makes something deviled. One of my earlier blog posts for Tuna Nicoise Deviled Eggs recounts the history of the word deviled, which essentially meant anything heavily seasoned. Like the deviled egg, this recipe includes dairy ingredients, and presents itself halves-side-open.


Whether it’s the jalapenos or the sweet peppers that appeal to you, you aren’t going to disappoint your guests with a dairy-saturated cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and aromatic garlic filling.

And it’s about time I gave Buffalo Chicken Dip a much-deserved break.


Serves 2.

  • 10 jalapenos, all cut in half longwise, with half the peppers minced
  • 1 / 2 block room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 / 4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated finely
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 3 to 5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  •  5 pepperoncinis, minced, for garnish


  1. Plate 10 jalapeno halves, mincing the remaining jalapeno halves for including in the filling. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a bowl, combine the minced jalapeno, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, and most of the pepperoncinis, reserving 3 to 4 minced tablespoons for garnish.
  3. Equally distribute the filling amongst the jalapeno halves, overfilling them a little bit. Top each half with the remaining pepperoncini.
  4. Pop the plate in the fridge to allow the peppers to chill.
  5. Serve within 2 hours, or the pepper flesh will begin to dry out and shrivel.


Molten ‘Shroom Burger

I applaud Shake Shack’s ‘Shroom Burger for successfully driving meat-eating customers to choose a vegetarian option. Not because these customers are trying to play off choosing the healthy option at a restaurant doling out cheeseburgers, but because they actually want it.

That’s vegetarian cooking I can get behind.

This burger copycats their signature mushroom sandwich.

The Shack knows full well that my neighborhood runs rampant with a Dual-Income-No-Kids crowd and there’s nothing stopping them from charging $13 for a burger. Cheese fries to round out the meal are a necessary extra purchase, and add a concrete to that and you might as well have sat down somewhere and ordered a filet Oscar and a mid-label bottle of Merlot.

I’m not hating on Shake Shack. And I’m exaggerating, of course.

I treated the portabella patty like a cheeseburger, complete with flavors that highlight its cheeseburger-ness, which mushrooms generally do a good job of mimicking. So white onion, pickle chips and special sauce are a necessity here.

This is a keep it simple, stupid, recipe. The cheese oozage from portobella mushroom is heavenly, and I  don’t want to detract from that.

I can’t wait for you to try this burger. Double stack those portabellas for a showstopping presentation. A photoshoot will certainly be in order.

Share your favorite ‘shroom burger recipes if you have them. 😊


Makes 2 ‘shroom burgers.

F o r  t h e  B u r g e r s

  • 2 portabella mushrooms, cut in half lengthwise, stems intact
  • 1 / 2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 sesame hamburger buns
  • 1 teaspoon butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 cube, approximately 2 oz. Velveeta cheese
  • 2 American Kraft Singles cheese slices
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 / 4 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 dill pickle chips
  • 4 tablespoons Special Sauce from Hankerings’ Cheeseburger á la Big Mac, recipe below.

F o r  t h e  S p e c i a l  S a u c e

  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pickle chips, minced finely
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco hot sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper


  1. Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Combine all the Special Sauce ingredients and set in fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a buttered skillet, toast the buns. Set aside.
  4. Cut the portabella mushrooms in half lengthwise, keeping the stems intact, and carve out some of the flesh from the inside of the mushroom cap so there is enough room for the cheese cube when you put the halves together.
  5. Place one cube Velveeta cheese in between two portabella mushrooms halves, forming an enclosure.
  6. Dredge the mushroom package in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the panko. Secure each mushroom with 3 toothpicks, snipping the tip off each toothpick so the mushrooms are fully submergible in the oil.
  7. In a skillet, add enough oil so there is 2 inch depth. Once the oil is frying temperature (use a pinch of flour to test to the oil readiness), fry the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes until the panko is golden brown, flipping once.
  8. Smear 1 tablespoon of the special sauce on both sides of the buns. To assemble, remove the toothpicks and put a Kraft single on top to begin melting. Then place the mushroom on the bun, followed by the onion, pickle chips, and then the bun lid.
  9. Cut in half, and enjoy immediately.

Carolina Reaper Pickles

Homemade, spicy pickles are fermenting in my fridge as we speak.

My boyfriend is a genius for buying a pickle starter set – along with a cheese and hot sauce starter set – for my birthday.

Just one of those would have been enough to keep me occupied for hours, and hours. And hours.

I went to the farmer’s market here in DC – FRESHFARM in Dupont Circle. The place is overwhelming with things I wanted to go home with, but of all of the vendors, I honed in on a pepper stand.


I can’t get over the hyperbolic, certifiable names we give hot peppers & sauces nowadays – to give you a sense of today’s hot sauce market, you can select from such favorites as Ass Blaster Hot Sauce, Delicious Suffering Hot Sauce or Weapons of Ass Destruction Hot Sauce.

Picking a few unknowns, I decided to infuse the pickling brine with the peppers, but only after I had a chance to taste each one.  My first taste of a raw Carolina Reaper reminded me of a habanero on steroids. Nearly-identical flavor, and really hot, but not a singe-your-mouth hot. Just a lingering, yummy burn.

The Jamaican Hot Chocolate earned its name – it had definite chocolatey undertones, and made me wish I’d bought pounds of them for freezing.

The others were a bit milder, bell-peppery, and tasted familiar. I seeded and slivered the Sugar Rush Peach into spear shapes which would mingle with the cucumbers. The rest of the peppers, not including the Carolina Reaper, were sliced crosswise and added to the brine as well. I decided to mince the Carolina Reaper for the brine, seeds included. I do not regret this decision.

I did the right thing and made a batch of regular dill pickles for anyone who didn’t want to voluntarily hurt themselves – the brine base of which I used for the spicy pickles.

Nothing too crazy, just the appropriate proportions of vinegar, water, salt and sugar, and the go-to prerequisites for cucumber pickling – garlic, peppercorns and fresh dill.

The fermenting lids from Easy Fermenter we bought claim to help mitigate unwanted aerobic bacteria growth, and expel oxygen from the lid as it ferments. Anything and everything I can do to make these pickles perfect, I’m going to do – and I love specialty kitchen items like this.


So which pickle team are you on – traditional garlic & dill, or Carolina Reaper?


Makes 2 32 oz. jars of pickles.

  • 2 cucumbers, cut in half, seeded & sliced into spears
  • 6 to 8 3 to 4 inch mild to hot peppers of your choosing, seeded & sliced into spears
  • 6 to 8 small, mild to hot peppers of your choosing, sliced crosswise
  • 2 Carolina Reapers, minced
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • Approximately 10 cloves garlic, smashed & skins removed
  • Approximately 20 stems fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar on the stovetop until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the peppercorns and garlic and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a clean 32. oz mason jar, add half the cucumber spears tucked alongside half the dill stems, along with half the pepper spears, sliced peppers, and minced pepper. Repeat for the second jar.
  3. Once cooled, pour the brine over the cucumbers and peppers, and try to divvy equal amounts of garlic cloves and black peppercorns into each jar. If you’re using a fermenting lid, don’t fill to the top – leave one inch between the brining liquid and the lid. If using regular mason jar lids, fill to the near top.
  4. Store the pickles in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. The longer the more picklier, and therefore better. Once opened, pickles will last for about 2 months in the fridge.