Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Ode to Mayonnaise

It seems that this world is divided into two types of people: Those that eschew mayonnaise and those that can consume mass quantities of it single meals. There is no in-between. Either mayonnaise totally creeps you out, or it is one of your dearest, time-tested culinary companions. I find myself in the latter group. I love mayonnaise. So...there. It's out. I've said it.

I feel so much better now.

I have always been somewhat embarrassed by my passion for the stuff. It's definitely not the most glamorous, or um, health-conscious thing to eat. And it's impossible to look sophisticated whilst eating something gobbed with the white, greasy goo. When fellow mayonnaise junkies discover one another, there's an instant bond. An unspoken camaraderie. Together, we share in the fellowship of our mayonnaise-y sufferings. We've heard the comments. The jeers. Seen the peculiar looks as we smother our various food items with the thick, white, gooey condiment. I believe that mayonnaise lovers are really rebels at heart. We go on and eat our mayonnaise-laden victuals, raising our greasy fists in the air shouting, "To heck with my arteries!" And we stick together.

I remember one such instantaneous bond occurring a few years ago, when the mom's group I was a member of ventured out for a play date and lunch at the mall. We sat down to eat our Chick-Fil-A, and I found myself sitting across from a young mother and relatively new member of our church. As we pulled out our respective value meals and readied them for consumption, our eyes fell on each others' piles of mayonnaise adjacent to our waffle fries. We looked at our food. We looked at each other. And a profound mutual respect was earned that day.

If you've never tried mayo on your waffle fries, before you scoff, I double dog dare you to give it a try. No, I triple dog dare you. I don't find the obsessive compulsion to do this to any other pile of fries EXCEPT waffle fries. There's just something about the way the pockets (or holes) trap the extra mayo, making it extra mayo-licious. I've been ridiculed mercilessly for my waffle fry habit, even by so-called "friends" and family. People that simply do not understand the finer things in life. People with, I'm just going to go ahead and say it, underdeveloped and immature pallets.

I guess I feel this strongly about all condiments. My philosophy is, Why bother eating something if you can't smother it with something, rendering it completely unrecognizable??? To me, the food is just a medium for the sauce. I've been known to pour copious amounts of mayonnaise and other various sauces on my food at what some would deem "inconvenient" or "inappropriate" times. Whilst traveling at high velocities. Whilst wearing evening wear, etc.

I've been a mayonnaise fan ever since I was a kid. I used to eat mayonnaise sandwiches. It's not rocket science. There's no guess work. It's two pieces of bread with, you guessed it, nothing but mayonnaise. Oh sure, you can throw on a tomato or two if you want to get all gourmet-like. But for me, there was nothing finer, or simpler than a mayonnaise sandwich. Go ahead and make one. You know you want to. Any brand of mayo will do in pinch. And believe me, I've tried them all. But Hellmann's is the best, by far. There really is no substitute.

Not only am I a fan of mayonnaise itself, but I love all mayonnaise-based things. Potato salad. Chicken salad. Egg salad. Tuna salad. Dips made with mayonnaise. And a sandwich just isn't complete without a dollop (or two...or three...or four) of mayonnaise. And I recently stumbled across this ingenious invention. Are you even kidding me??? That's like combining Heaven with even more Heaven. Double Heaven. In a jar, no less. I might never leave the house.

So, tell me. Are you a mayo slut or a mayo prude? Go on. Hit me with it.


Mommy said...

I really like the stuff as well. Like you, I have felt hot daggers piercing my skin while eating it at times. Sometimes I feel like I'm the wierdo, but you make me feel more normal. I particularly like mayo piled high upon a ripe tomato.

Stephanie said...

I totally forgot about that day at Chick-Fil-A! I was so glad that someone else (other than my sister) dipped their fries in mayo. I usually get strange looks when I do it but I don't care it's GOOD! So when are we going to CFA???

holly said...

Sinko de mayo!!!
ang, i can handle a stripe. like on a blt. or mixed with mustard. so i am def., as in many other areas of life, a prude.
when i was little my sister and i had an elaborate make believe game based around our fear of mayonnaise. we had an Aunt Rose who made everything with mayonnaise. she knew we didn't like it and she would sneak it into things like cookies. she would offer us the cookies and we would say, "Aunt rose, do these cookies have mayonnaise in them?" and she would say, o no! and then we would take an imaginary bite and the phantom mayonnaise would come squishing out.
so, beside the fact that something was def. wrong with me as a child, i was obviously scarred by mayonnaise at an early age. did my mom slather it on the sandwiches she packed for school? i don't know.

Angie said...

I'm on the prude side. I use mayo sparingly on sandwiches. I once used it in my hair as a conditioner because Julia Roberts did it in "Dying Young" and I about hurled because the smell of it. I just can't bring myself to dip waffle fries in it (even with your double dog dare). But to each his own.

Amy said...

I am a mayo prude, but a condiment slut! I LOVE the condiments. I just have some texture issues with a lot of mayo. My mom is a fry-mayo dipper and a general mayo-slatherer. She would love to accompany you and Steph to CFA. I also have to add, that I HATE a dry sandwich, so I do require some mayo and/or butter.

Do you feel passionately about Miracle Whip??

Angela said...

Stephanie, you name the date, and I will meet you at CFA and we can smother our fries in mayo together with reckless abandonment! :) Michelle can join us since she's not afraid of it either!

Holly, your story is hilarious. And I can totally picture it.

Angie, I have to agree with you on the mayo on the hair combination. It's nasty, and smells awful. I did it a few times in high school myself. Mayo and hair should never be paired together!

Amy - I am a mayo slut, but I am also a mayo purist. Meaning, I don't feel AS passionately about Miracle Whip. I do like it, but I generally prefer mayo. I do have a nostalgic affinity for MW because it's what my grandma always had at her house, so whenever we ate sandwiches at her house, that's what we had.

shannon said...

Funny, I just felt bad recently because I only had Kraft mayo in my fridge when my aunt, a great cook, came to visit. She only uses Helman's.

Then, a week later, I go to someone's home to prepare a tea-- including tomato sandwich rounds-- and bring the Kraft (again). I was feeling sort of self-conscious, as a chef who could care less about mayo even though I had to make it from scratch in culinary school. I mumbled something to the host about hoping she's not a Helman's purist and her son-in-law piped up and said, no, glad you brought Kraft since I'm a Kraft representative.

We then had a chat about the stuff and he said all great chefs prefer Helman's and that Kraft even makes a product more like Helman's for professional kitchens (but then went on to talk about how the emulsifying properties are better for binding). So, I figured, as long as it's not goopy food I'm making, I'm still cool.

Angela said...

Shan, you just helped me clear up a mystery that I could never quite figure out. For cooking, sandwiches, etc., I prefer Hellmans. But for fry dipping, I do not. I prefer a brand that's not so clumpy. Kraft, or whatever brand Chick-Fil-A uses is preferable.

Davis said...

I'm the late-comer here, apparently. I am a HUGE mayonnaise fan! I used to work at Subway and would get a free 6" for 4 hours of work: my favorite was basically a mayo sandwich with small amounts of turkey, cheese, tomato, bell pepper, and black olives. I charged it as a turkey sub, but it was really a mayo sub with a hint of turkey for color. Also love the mayo on the waffle fries, but I would do it for all other fries, if I could. It's just that CFA is the only fast-food place I know of that offers mayo packets at all. They guys here at work scoff when I do that, and I pity them. I may start requesting a To-Go box of mayo at Wendy's from now on, just to see if they'll do it. Thank you for starting this support group. It's very encouraging to see so many like-minded weirdos!

Kristen said...

I'll get this out of the way now: I am a former mayo prude, now converted to slutdom.

Here's the thing: fat makes everything taste better. Bottom line.

Angela, you NEED to get Sriracha. I totally feel the way you do about sauces and condiments, by the way. The food is just a vehicle to consume that lovely stuff.