Opinion » The Rant

Mayonnaise Some Good ’Maters!

Debating the finer points of the gooey white stuff.

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You may find that I talk a lot about how summer sucks. This summer is particularly nasty. I am, however, going to say something nice about summer. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are nice. A bacon and tomato sandwich is the first thing you get in heaven. And, because it's heaven, you get to pick what kind of mayonnaise you want. Red and yellow, black and white, there is no more of a great divide among Southern friends and family than what kind of mayonnaise you prefer.

Now, I'm talking about mayonnaise in terms of "preference" and not "orientation" because some people are omni-mayonnaisians. I am one of those people. I am open to trying a new mayonnaise. You may be reading this now thinking, no. I can't go on with this. I can't read someone who has no firm mayo preference. It's against nature. Right now you want to find me and bring me over to your side. You want me to understand why Duke's is the Way. That Blue Plate is the Light. I hope that we can at least all agree that Greek yogurt has no place in mayonnaise.

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A couple of weeks ago a friend posted an article on Facebook about pears with cheese and mayonnaise. This delicacy consists of a half a canned pear, a dollop of mayonnaise placed in the hollow, and is sprinkled with mild cheddar cheese. If your family was very rich and fancy, you might have gotten a maraschino cherry on top. Those of you who can't abide the thought of mayonnaise in the first place are trying to keep lunch down at this point. I get it. It doesn't sound particularly appetizing. Another friend said she remembered pear salad being served with pizza at our elementary school and she still shudders thinking about it. The article said the trick to recreating the proper pear and cheese salad was to use Kraft mayonnaise. Kraft, the article says, has the correct tang for this particular application.

Right now some of you are going to have to take a blood pressure pill because the thought of using Kraft is so abhorrent.

Duke's, I am told, is best for tomato sandwiches. I've tried Duke's before and don't remember liking it, but I am willing to try again. It seems no brand of mayonnaise has as rabid a loyal fan base as Duke's. It is rumored that ex-pat Southerners will smuggle jars of Duke's over the Mason-Dixon Line. I am also told that Duke's is best for the most-hated sandwich my brother and I were ever forced to eat by our grandmother: peanut butter and mayonnaise. I believe the origin of this abomination to be in the Great Depression. Our grandmother would say it made the peanut butter go farther. It went farther away from our mouths. I know there are many fervent peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich eaters out there, and I will just let you fight your own death match on the proper mayonnaise because I don't want to think about it anymore.

Some of you reading this might be fans of the second-most disgusting mayonnaise application: mayonnaise and black eyed peas. Why this is a thing, I've no idea. I don't know what the poor humble black eye ever did to warrant such torture as mayonnaise boarding.

I have come to like Blue Plate. It's cheaper than Hellman's and it also just uses the yolk of the egg rather than the whole egg, which makes it more like homemade. That's the only way it's like homemade. There just is no comparing homemade mayo with store-bought. Pimento cheese made with homemade mayonnaise is a transformative experience, especially when served on pasty white bread. Finely chopped green onion mixed with homemade mayonnaise also makes a good sandwich to serve at bridge club because it goes well with whiskey sours.

I've known couples to break up because they found out the other person was a Miracle Whip fan. I'm all about diversity, but I have to say I'm not sure that wasn't for the best. I don't know how a mayonnaise-eater can cohabitate with a salad dressing fan. Would you expect an Auburn fan to be happy with an Alabama fan? Same difference.

Why are we so passionate about our mayonnaise brand? Perhaps it's because, with the exception of Kraft, mayonnaise is very regional. Yes, Hellman's and Best Foods are the same, but you can't get Hellman's west of the Rockies. Blue Plate is elusive, so you best buy a few quarts when you see it. Duke's is a whole other animal. I grew up in Mississippi and never heard of Duke's until I was an adult. It also occurs to me that I've never noticed generic mayonnaise. I assume it exists. Maybe they eat it in Wyoming?

Susan Wilson writes for yeahandanotherthing.com and likethedew.com. She and her husband Chuck have lived here long enough to know that Midtown does not start at Highland.

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