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In praise of - salad cream.

There are many meals I enjoyed eating when I was younger, with my mum's macaroni cheese, sausages dipped in HP sauce and French toast at the top of the list.

My all-time favourite lunch was a salad sandwich doused in salad cream.

Popularised by Heinz, salad cream – a concoction made of emulsified egg yolk and spirit vinegar – was an essential ingredient in the salad sandwich. Pan bread, iceberg lettuce, cucumber and spring onion were all pieced together and smeared with the stuff.

Recently, salad cream has gained a bigger profile, appearing in a special selection of sandwiches produced by Marks & Spencer to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

It was first launched in Britain in the 1920s and took off during the Second World War, when due to rationing it became popular as a replacement for mayonnaise. Today I favour it not just with the afore-mentioned salad sandwiches, but to dunk chips and pizza crusts in too. It is as essential an ingredient as ever in my cupboard.

It is very much a love or hate item and my recent declaration of love for salad cream on Facebook was met with equal agreement and consternation from my friends. The haters seem to be winning, as figures from 2007 suggest that salad cream is in danger of vanishing due to diminishing sales. It has fallen out of favour, with people instead opting for French-style mayo. In 2007 people in the UK spent £97 million on mayonnaise compared to only £49m on salad cream. This must not be allowed to happen, otherwise my salad sandwiches will never be the same. Mayo might be cooler, more continental and easier to use, but salad cream wins my vote for its retro charm. I urge everyone not to give up on this very British condiment.

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