Jerry-rigged foods.

I’ll mix mayo and sweet relish to make tartar sauce. Reduce the amount of relish, add ketchup and you’ve got either Russian dressing or McDonald’s secret sauce. If you grate half an onion, soften (but don’t brown) in olive oil (you can add garlic too), add tomato paste in with chicken broth, you got a sort of tomato sauce that you can put over meatballs.

What foods do you jerry-rig?*

*I was at a NY Dopefest a good 10 years ago when an oldie doper wondered at my use of the word ‘jerry-rigged’. He told me that I must know the word is actually ‘nigger-rigged’. I told him that that was the first time I have ever heard nigger-rigged in my whole entire life. He was dumbfounded. I told him to take a real good look at me and see if he could find a reason why no one would say the word ‘nigger-rigged’ to my face. It’s true. Some people really don’t see color!

There is also a small and unlikely chance that he was calling you out because Jerry Rigged is a derogatory term used with the Jerry referring to Germans… common from the WWII era.
Just tonight I made a quick spaghetti sauce by just opening a jar of Prego three cheese sauce, chopping up half a bell pepper, adding some Italian spices and some red wine. Bring it to a boil along with the ground beef and they will think you worked hard on it. Everyone loved it.

Collins mix
pie crust

I’ve heard the terms "afro-engineered and “hitler-rigged” as well as the above mentioned

Interesting. I understand the correct term is actual Jury Rigged which means to to some makeshift repairs. Jerry Built is from WWII and means shoddy workmanship.

I haven’t heard either term used in this context but it it works, I intuitively understood what was meant.

I can’t think of any standout examples but I’ve done a fair bit of creative cooking in the past in the same principle.

I always heard “Jury-rigged”, too.


Biggirl fails to mention that she attended that particular Dopefest dressed as a Valkyrie and wearing a Kaiser Wilhelm spiked helmet on her head.

The Oldie Doper was probably just trying to assuage the obvious shame about her ethnicity and re-establish her pride in her glorious Teutonic heritage.

…to address the OP, though, I don’t think I “Jerry-rig” (forgive me Beethoven! forgive me Goethe!) much of anything in the kitchen, being a food nerd.

Sometimes I use pre-mixed spices – Slap Yo’ Mama Cajun seasoning on spare ribs or fried chicken; curry powder for West Indian (NOT East Indian) curries; McCormack chili powder in chili, if I want that good ol’ MIDWESTERN CHILI flavor – instead of individual spices. Does that count?

One more anecdote - I am 77 yo and I have always heard jury-rigged, also. I can’t ever remember writing the term until today, and I certainly have not looked it up, but for me, for now, jury-rigged will do.


And I bet the spike on the helmet was held on with baling wire. (maybe electrical tape)

I have jury-rigged Bloody Mary mix by watering down chili sauce. Well, “watering” isn’t quite the term. “Vodkaing” was more like it. Remember kids - if you can’t see through a Bloody Mary, it ain’t doing you no good no how.

I jury-rig shrimp cocktail sauce by mixing ketchup and prepared horseradish. For a little extra zip, I’ll add Worcestershire and/or Tabasco.

Old bread + some leftover or jarred spaghetti sauce + whatever cheese is left after the mold is cut off = Pizza!

My dad uses fat-free milk and I use 1%. When I visited him one time, he bought some half and half for me, not realizing that I now drink my tea black. So I mixed some half and half in to my cereal to make it, not sure the percentage, but definitely not fat free. Tasted more like 2% than 1% to me.

I’ve been hearing ‘jerry rigged’ more often of late. I rarely hear ‘jerry built’ but it does seem to be some hybrid of that and ‘jury rigged’.

Pretty much that is just “making cocktail sauce”…

Having had gut issues with milk for years now (mild case of Crohn’s) I’ve been jury-rigging to get my cereal fix by mixing non-dairy creamer with water right in the bowl, eyeballing by color/translucence to get the right consistency.

Recently though, since I seem to be ok with it intestinally, I’ve just been mixing the cereal in with greek yogurt instead…Froot Loops FTW.

Also, I’ve made my own spicy mayo by just adding Huy Fong Sriracha to Hellman’s in a pinch- I know that Kewpie brand is the defacto standard, but haven’t hunted it down, as we often have leftover sauce from the local sushi joint anyways.

I’m in my early 40s and I grew up with “jerry-rigged.” I only discovered much later “jury-rigged” and “jerry built.” Not sure I’ve really even heard the latter in the wild. (And then various more ethnically offensive versions of this phrase).

Anyhow, I’m not sure I consider mayo & relish jerry-rigging tartar sauce so much as actually making tartar sauce. But if stuff like that counts, I do that, as well as the “hamburger sauce” of mayo, relish, ketchup, and mustard. When I want to half-ass pizza, I’ll just build it over a flour tortilla instead of making or going out and buying fresh pizza dough.

I use mint sauce instead of fresh chopped mint when I make sekanjabin, since the sauce is just mint, vinegar and sugar and those are the other ingredients in sekanjabin anyway.

That’s funny; the one you knew first is the latter-day conflation of the other two, which originated separately and with quite different meanings.

“Jury-rigging” was a nautical term, referring to actual ship’s sail rigging, set up in an emergency or temporary fashion. A jury-mast is a smaller pole wedged up in place of a proper mast broken off in a storm, for example. Jury-rigging may be expertly done, but it is never meant to be permanent.

“Jerry-built” was a less specific, slangier expression, with the “jerry” part meaning shoddy or defective. A jerry-built structure might have been intended to be permanent, but for want of either materials or skill, it’s probably not very sturdy.

With that understanding, one might say that a jury-rigged food is perhaps a dish made with some well-chosen substitutions, as a matter of necessity. A jerry-built dish is a kind of haphazard experiment.