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Monday, August 22, 2011

Do you Durkee?




Ever tried Durkee? This brand has been around for decades. It is difficult to find in many grocery stores but members of my Southern family say it is the only thing they will eat on a sandwich. It is often in the foreign and specialty condiments aisle... It is a mixture of mayo, mustard and egg yolks. Sounds disgusting but this spread is a secret in a lot of old southern recipes!


Durkee is now distributed by a company based in Memphis, but the original company was founded in 1851 by Eugene R. Durkee im Buffalo but moved his HQ to NYC. Durkee had a New York residence along the Hudson - down the street from the Astor's Waldorf estate. He also had a major factory along the LIRR and it has since been refurbished as a high school. He was one of the first industrialists to trademark and patent items.


So, how do I eat my Durkee? I like my Durkee with turkey, as my Grandpapa does. It is also excellent with a toasted ham and swiss, cooked panini style. Durkee is really tasty on a BLT and on a post-Thanksgiving sandwich with turkey and cranberry. Great add in or substitute for egg salad, potato salad and as a condiment for crab cakes. Oh! And Morton's of Chicago used it: Morton's Blue Cheese Dressing (Makes 5 cups)

2 cups of real mayonnaise like Duke's or Hellman's
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspooon Durkee's Famous Sauce
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
salt and freshly ground black papper
7 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1 1/2 cups)

In a large bowl, whisk together mayo and sour cream. Add buttermilk, Durkee's and seasoned salt and whisk until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and whisk again. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in blue cheese. Transfer to storage container with tight lid and refrigerate for at least one day and up to 4.

From Morton's of Chicago Steak Bible


Here is some more industrial history, for much of the 20th century, Glidden (the paint people) owned the Durkee name via Wikipedia:

The Glidden Food Products Company was formed in 1920. This subsidiary refined vegetable oils and produced oleomargarine. By the onset of the Great Depression, Glidden had formed a conglomerate that was able to purchase smaller companies disadvantaged by the economic turmoil of the time. The purchase of Durkee & Co., a leading manufacturer of salad dressings, meat sauces, pickles, spices, and condiments, for $1.8 million in mid-1929 precipitated a name change for Glidden's food subsidiary to Durkee Famous Foods, Inc. Durkee was widely known as the maker of Durkee Famous Sauce, reportedly a favorite of President Abraham Lincoln. Glidden and Durkee would enjoy a half-century of cooperation. Late in 1929, the operations of the Portland Vegetable Oil Mills Company were incorporated into Durkee's business, and in 1933 the Van Camp Oil Co. was rescued from bankruptcy and added to Durkee's long list of operating companies. All of Durkee's assets were later acquired by Glidden in 1936, when the subsidiary became a division. The construction of a hydrogen plant in New Jersey enhanced Durkee's vertical integration for the production of hydrogenated oils.
By the end of World War II, Glidden was a leading manufacturer of margarine. Its spreads were sold under the Durkee, Troco, and Dinner Bell tradenames. Margarine sales made up a substantial portion of the Durkee division's total revenue. The acquisitions of the 1930s and 1940s tripled Glidden's sales from $50.17 million in 1940 to over $170 million in 1945. Glidden sold Durkee in 1980. Durkee is now owned by ACH Foods under Associated British Foods.


How do you eat your Durkee? Do you have any family memories of it?

2 comments:

  1. YUM! Love the sound of this! I'll have to find some! Sounds delish!

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  2. Only way to eat left over turkey sandwiches is with Durkee's. We call it Durkees as if that was it's name, plural! Such a good blast from the past and I can taste it in my mind. My family is from Memphis so this is all we ate growing up...in Michigan. :)

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