"My mother raised me to believe that mayonnaise was for idiots."
April 7, 2016 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Ottessa Moshfegh writes about mayonnaise, and her mother, in an essay for Lucky Peach.
Mayonnaise, to my mother, was like peanut butter to the French: disgusting, uncivilized, and impossible to find. On a scale of respectability, a jar of mayonnaise came in somewhere between a vat of pig fat and one of those plastic pails of Marshmallow Fluff. When I was twenty-one, I explained all of this to my boyfriend, who was from North Carolina and loved mayonnaise. He said he felt sorry for me for having had such a deprived childhood, without any mayonnaise. I loved that I could revel in his pity. “My mother only ever bought us mustard,” I said. It was so sad to say this out loud. I cried.
posted by Charity Garfein (135 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wait, hold on, back up the umami truck!!

What's this I hear about dissing pig fat? Hrrumph.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:11 PM on April 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Mayonnaise, to my mother, was like peanut butter to the French: disgusting, uncivilized...

Neither camp would have gotten along with my dad, then, whose favorite brownbag lunch was a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. It's actually not nearly as bad as it sounds.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 PM on April 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


I read Moshfegh's novel Eileen not long ago, and it is really good, so I'm glad to see her work being posted here.

I don't have strong feelings one way or the other about mayonnaise, though I know a lot of people who do. I do remember how wrong homemade mayonnaise looked and tasted to me the first time I tried it, though I later learned to appreciate it.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:15 PM on April 7, 2016


It has taken me well into my 40's to admit that mayonnaise is sometimes acceptable.
posted by bswinburn at 6:21 PM on April 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


My parents taught me to appreciate the Tangy Zip™ of Miracle Whip®.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2016 [14 favorites]


That was a lovely essay, and gave me all kinds of weird pangs about Miracle Whip and The Frugal Gourmet*.

*I'm in the early stages of doing a cooking podcast with my husband, and while our cooking histories are completely different the first exposure to actual cooking instruction we both got was TFG. We're still undecided about whether we can really talk about him.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:43 PM on April 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Huh. I was wondering if mayonnaise was going to be a metaphor for something else. Maybe kind of yes but mostly no. She really is mostly talking about mayo (but also lots of other stuff too).

Meanwhile, speaking of mayonnaise, did anyone else see Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s rendition of the wildest/grossest/whitest sandwich ever made? Do not click through this if you have an aversion to mayonnaise, bananas, and/or white bread.
posted by mhum at 6:43 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm apparently a broken white person because I have no strong feelings about mayonnaise. Like, use it, skip it, whatever.
posted by GuyZero at 6:46 PM on April 7, 2016


But don't use it with peanut butter because that sounds terrible.
posted by GuyZero at 6:47 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


ALSO Lucky Peach is usually really good writing. I only found it recently and was surprised. The whole issue was solid.
posted by GuyZero at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


“Sandwich spread?” my mother said in front of the deli case. “What is that?”

“It’s a mix of things. The Frugal Gourmet said it had some chopped up pickles in it.”

“You mean like what they put on hot dogs? Yech.”

“No, nothing like that.”

“Well, you’ll do as you please,” she said, “with or without my blessing.” The sad truth was that all my life I’d mostly just wanted to please her.


OK holy shit RUN GIRL GET OUT OF THERE
posted by 3urypteris at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2016 [14 favorites]


On a scale of respectability, a jar of mayonnaise came in somewhere between a vat of pig fat and one of those plastic pails of Marshmallow Fluff.

This scale makes my head hurt. Unless it's an inverted bell curve?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


But don't use it with peanut butter because that sounds terrible.

I'm pretty sure we've had a thread in the last week in which someone specifically said that PB and mayo was some kind of revelation. It's like Rule 34, but for food.

I'd long known about the "secret" diner trick of mayo for grilled cheese for a long time, but I was recently introduced to mayo as replacement for egg in the traditional two- or three-stage breading process. It's solid, and you can use Just Mayo if you have egg allergies to consider.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:51 PM on April 7, 2016


My parents taught me to appreciate the Tangy Zip™ of Miracle Whip®.

FLAGGED
posted by leotrotsky at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2016 [38 favorites]


Neither camp would have gotten along with my dad, then, whose favorite brownbag lunch was a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. It's actually not nearly as bad as it sounds.

No, it sounds pretty bad.
posted by Fizz at 6:53 PM on April 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


I watched someone on a cooking competition melt down because there was no pre-made mayonnaise in jars. The judging panel were slightly stunned that someone didn't appear to know that it did not arrive pre-formed, direct from the hand of the emulsion god.

I was less surprised. Some things are so convenient and ubiquitous that it's easy to forget that they have components. We sometimes just treat things in certain bottles and jars as magical and there is neither necessity nor desirability in seeking to replicate this available whole. Maggi seasoning and XO sauce fall into this grouping in a couple of Asian cultures. Sure, you could try to make your own but why would you bother? It's only when you go somewhere that doesn't have the product that your comfortable illusion of continual ingredient vanishes.

Then it's just you, some eggs, a whisk, and a thin stream of olive oil. Godspeed, bold emulsifier, Godspeed.
posted by nfalkner at 6:55 PM on April 7, 2016 [21 favorites]


You guys. Peanut butter and pickles (bread and butter, ideally homemade by my grandma). Hand to God.
posted by 3urypteris at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh man and you could make a grilled peanut butter and pickle sandwich using the mayonnaise trick, blaspheme the condiment gods.
posted by 3urypteris at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Personally, I rarely use mayo straight. However, it's a great base for all sorts of other flavors to paint a sandwich with. Right now, I have in my fridge little containers of mayo mixed with pesto, chipotle powder, curry, and, of course, roasted garlic.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:59 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Two-minute mayo, made with immersion blender.

Vegan version, made with aquafaba and a dozen whole chickpeas.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:08 PM on April 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


I don't use mayo much these days, but it's still required for the True Post-Thanksgiving Sandwich (white sandwich bread! mayo! turkey!) Also, fresh lemon juice mixed into mayo makes a quite decent substitute for hollandaise for eating with artichoke.
posted by tavella at 7:10 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mothers say a lot of dumb things.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:11 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Huh. I was wondering if mayonnaise was going to be a metaphor for something else. Maybe kind of yes but mostly no. She really is mostly talking about mayo (but also lots of other stuff too).

I think she is mostly talking about the costs of trying to please people we love, and the mayo is a condiment.
posted by gingerest at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm not eating lunch with any of you.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's a difference between Duke's mayonnaise and all the other stuff that isn't actually mayonnaise.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:17 PM on April 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


You guys. Peanut butter and pickles

My sister loves PB & sliced sweet gherkin sandwiches. Otherwise she seems quite sane.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:26 PM on April 7, 2016


I like mayonnaise, and I like peanut butter too, but I've never thought of using the two together. My peanut butter loving life kind of took off into all new territory when I started thinking of it as a savoury condiment thing, not just a standalone sandwich spread (although obvs I think it excellent with jam, or bananas). It's good under a fried egg (esp with a little chili sauce)(like Breakfast Satay Lite) and a lot of soupy things are wildly improved with a spoonful.

The tampon thing made me feel kind of crazy with anger, though.
posted by glitter at 7:29 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jeezum fucking crow I love mayonnaise, but WHY WOULD YOU ASK YOUR GF TO CUT YOUR TOENAILS
posted by Greg Nog at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


OK I thought the point of this story was the massively terrible emotional and just factual communication between this mother and daughter; and the mayonnaise, as dirty foul forbidden food for the daughter growing up and nutritional catalyst for the mother years later with no apparent understanding on the mother's part of how that's pretty odd and irritating for the daughter, was the uniting theme.

The last scene really drives the point home for me, the mom shows up 30 pounds lighter with a shaved head, saying her daughter looks thin and sick and that she shaved her head on a whim. The daughter can't bring herself to just ask "do you have cancer?" and feels its necessary to confabulate some story about looking into an eclipse in 2nd grade to explain why she's crying, not just saying something straightforward like "I'm sorry but I'm worried, you look really different and I thought you might be sick." It looks to me like a whole big mess of projection, denial, and decades-long petty deceipts and manipulations.
posted by 3urypteris at 7:34 PM on April 7, 2016 [21 favorites]


My parents taught me to appreciate the Tangy Zip™ of Miracle Whip®.

I don't recall it being so apparent with other foods but for whatever reason my parents considered Miracle Whip to be trashy, unlike regular mayo. I've never liked the taste of MW, and I am sure a large part of that is from absorbing those old family attitudes.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:35 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Man when I saw that this was about mayonnaise, I knew it had the potential to become one of those you WHAT threads.

Ps I hate mayo.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:48 PM on April 7, 2016


The recent media about "OMG MAYO AND BANANAS!" has honestly had me thrown. My whole family has eaten banana sandwiches FOREVER!! With Peanut Butter of course!! Everybody I know loves them!! And, y'all brace yourselves, we love banana salad too!! Nanas sliced longways, laid on a plate....peanut butter spread on top and a thin layer of mayo on that. DELICIOUS!! Must be a Southern thing .....so good!!

And Duke's is the only mayo.
posted by pearlybob at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maggi seasoning and XO sauce fall into this grouping in a couple of Asian cultures. Sure, you could try to make your own but why would you bother?

Now I'm curious -- how do you make your own Maggi seasoning (Maggi-Würze)? The thing you can buy is based on hydrolyzed vegetable protein, the original acid-catalyzed process for that is described by Wikipedia as "... proteins hydrolysed by cooking with a diluted (15–20%) hydrochloric acid, at a temperature between 90 and 120 °C for up to 8 hours. After cooling, the hydrolysate is neutralised with either sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide to a pH of 5 to 6. The hydrolysate is filtered to remove the insoluble carbohydrate fraction (humin) and then further refined." (etc) which strikes me as a bit impractical to do in your kitchen :-)
posted by effbot at 8:08 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't know about all this talk about mayo. Everyone knows it's good for you.
posted by effbot at 8:13 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Neither camp would have gotten along with my dad, then, whose favorite brownbag lunch was a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. It's actually not nearly as bad as it sounds.

No, it sounds pretty bad.


My grandfather's go-to was peanut butter, mayo, sardines and iceberg lettuce on white bread, which I always figured had something to do with the Great Depression. I have to confess that I have a soft spot for it. Sardines may be mashed or left whole.
posted by pullayup at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Kewpie.

That is all.
posted by srboisvert at 8:16 PM on April 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Your mother must have loved you more than my mother loved me.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:18 PM on April 7, 2016


Kewpie.

That is all.


dear hell ass god yes
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:47 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hot damn. I have never added sardines to a pb & mayo sandwich, but it sounds like a very good idea. It's the dadliest of sandwiches.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 8:50 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


My mother also raised me to believe mayonnaise was disgusting. We kept a small jar around for use exclusively in tuna salad and cole slaw and she was always trying new recipes for those dishes that allowed her to use yogurt or other non-mayo ingredients instead. I gather her father also had an aversion to mayonnaise (and to most other white sauces) so this is just a family thing, or maybe cultural.

I don't have a huge problem with it now and don't, like, scrape it off sandwiches like my mom does, but I can't imagine making a sandwich with mayo in it on purpose. I too have a small jar of mayonnaise in my fridge and I've used it exactly once for tuna salad.

BTW my mom's family's weird sandwich was peanut butter with a thick slice of raw red onion on toast. I've never been able to digest raw onions well (and in fact my eyes are so sensitive to onion fumes that I have to leave the room when other people cut them, and modify recipes to avoid cutting them myself) and I remember watching my grandpa tucking into one of these sandwiches with morbid fascination.
posted by town of cats at 8:52 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


My mother raised me to believe I & my siblings were "allergic"to mayonnaise. I didn't realize that this was absurd until I was 18 or 19. But I didn't eat any - vegan - until I had my first bahn mi, where I was too embarrassed to ask them to leave off the jalapenos and the cucumbers and the mayo.

I can't believe I went 20 years of not eating mayo.

I asked about it as an adult: "I thought it was disgusting... Your father used to hide mini-bottles of mayonnaise to put on sandwiches."
posted by you could feel the sky at 8:55 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


*I'm in the early stages of doing a cooking podcast with my husband, and while our cooking histories are completely different the first exposure to actual cooking instruction we both got was TFG. We're still undecided about whether we can really talk about him.

Oh man, THIS. I also grew up watching the Frug, and I feel like most of my early fundamental cooking knowledge comes from him -- definitely not my mom or grandma or any other immediate and present figure.

I recently rewatched a few episodes of his show on YouTube. They were exactly as I remember, but the bits with Craig were downright creepy and, in hindsight, creepy in a way that should have been obvious.

I have no problem at all writing Bill Cosby out of my cultural upbringing, because what he "allegedly" did, repeatedly, was so, so bad. It's harder for me to completely erase Jeff Smith, because the stuff I learned from him is knowledge I use every day now, 30 years later. I don't want to talk about him, or admit that I learned from him, but I know how to cook basically because of him. I'm right there with you and your boyfriend, Lyn Never.

I don't like it. I don't understand it. I'm uncomfortable with it. But there you go.

posted by mudpuppie at 8:58 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Fervent fan of PB, mayo and sliced tomato sandwich here.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:06 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I find mayonnaise completely disgusting. The look, the smell, the texture, just thinking about it makes me queasy.

"Without Mayo" was the first thing I learned to say in Japanese and I still shudder when I think of the cooking class I took - the women running it thought I wasn't finishing off the dishes with mayonnaise because I didn't understand the directions, so when I stepped away to wash a knife, they covered my food with mayonnaise cats and mayonnaise happy faces.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:08 PM on April 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


Fervent fan of PB, mayo and sliced tomato sandwich here.

All the favorites!

Also! Sharp cheddar! Also! Texas Pete! The best summer sammich.
posted by device55 at 9:13 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mayo is awesome.
Kabanos Jr likes it, along with ketchup, on his sandwiches.
Mrs. Kabanos must have it with her french fries or someone gets hurt.
My favourite is mayo slathered on toast with thick sliced fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Also, you can't make a proper Olivye salad or a Shuba (herring salad) without copious amounts of the stuff.
Oh, also also, marinate your pork or chicken in lots of mayo, lots of onions, and salt and pepper, for several hours before grilling. Sooo tender and juicy. Dammit how can I sleep now thinking of shashliks.
posted by Kabanos at 9:24 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I mean, I've never had anything against mayo; but goddamn people it's a condiment, not a beverage!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:26 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


My dad was fond of peanut butter and mayonnaise (Duke's only, of course). Also braunschweiger and mayonnaise. And I was happy to occasionally eat a banana and mayonnaise sandwich. All on Roman Meal bread because GOD FORBID we have anything as unhealthy as white bread in the house.

When I was being dumped for the first time, in high school, we went to a Burger King for some godawful reason, and I ordered my usual burger with just mayo. My soon-to-be ex looked at my food with scorn and said "It looks like a creamed-on piece of meat." I haven't been able to eat mayonnaise since.

I don't really miss it.
posted by bibliowench at 9:32 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Sriracha-Mayo for dipping fries in is sort of hard to resist.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:34 PM on April 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


If your about-to-be-ex thought mayonnaise looked like semen I would have provided him with helpful directions to the nearest urologist right after dumping him tbh
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:35 PM on April 7, 2016 [17 favorites]


also I love all you people who hate mayonnaise because more for me!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:35 PM on April 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


I've long had a strong aversion to mayo on a sandwich even though of course I've really been eating dressings and such containing mayo my whole life without thinking twice about it. I think the main problem is just that places use heaping bland globs of it.
posted by atoxyl at 9:46 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have such an aversion to mayo that even though I was drawn to this article/thread, it's making me gag just to read the crazy ways people use it.
posted by Night_owl at 9:48 PM on April 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


There are lots of ways to use mayonnaise, and apparently I am into them, because I have gone through a half gallon of the stuff, since Thanksgiving. Hello, is this the mayo help-line? But you can turn on your oven to 425 degrees, slice potatoes lengthwise into long thin spears, sprinkle them with seasoned salt of choice, maybe some cayenne, then coat in mayo, not a lot, just enough to oil them for flash baking. Bake around 18 minutes, check sooner to see if they are cooked through. This technique makes excellent oven fries.

I have to say that deliberately missing the boat, communicating with the ones you love, is a sad mistake. Parents get held to counts, but kids just end up missing out on the closeness they need. Then they write sad stories about it later. If you can make it right, do so.
posted by Oyéah at 9:56 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I give you- Mahón (aise).
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:58 PM on April 7, 2016


Mayo and pork floss on a bun is a Chinese bakery staple. But you can buy pork floss at any Chinese super market and put it on the bread of your choice and make your own. Yes, you're basically putting fatty mayo with a fried/dried pork product, but I grew up on these sandwiches as a kid, they're great, and I want one now.
posted by FJT at 10:21 PM on April 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


My wife temporarily ingested a jar of mayonnaise when she was three. (Her mother was watching, and had thought there must be some trace nutrient in the mayonnaise that her daughter needed.)

It was a formative experience.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:42 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I will never forgive Trader Joe's for discontinuing the made-in-France mayonnaise that was sold in the cheese section. So delicious.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:43 PM on April 7, 2016


I give you- Mahón (aise).

Why don't you try doing a spread of mayo + serrano ham finely chopped or mayo + surimi or crab meat on a slice of toasted French bread, or put mayo and tabasco on potatoes fried in chunks.
posted by sukeban at 10:47 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can we just stop all this mayonnaise bullshit talk and discuss the vegan wonder that is peanut butter, lettuce, and Bacos?

Thanks guys
posted by item at 11:21 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I grew up in the south and it was fucking mind boggling to me when I moved away that everywhere you go people hate mayo. But then I realized this is because everywhere that is not the south has really shitty mayo. Out here in California now, I die a little bit inside every time someone serves me some pathetic ass "coleslaw" dressed with olive oil (just order another kale salad if that's what you want, hippie). Or these goddamn dry as fuck hoagies, I'm glad they call it that because it's an insult to the concept of a decent sandwich. But these people are living in exile. They have lost the meaning of mayonnaise. They don't know what it is. How can you blame them?

When I went to visit family in NC for the holidays I would fill my checked luggage with Duke's to bring back to the west. The Secret of Great Southern Cooks (TM). Either homemade or Duke's, but never this shit they sell in the grocery stores out west.
posted by bradbane at 11:30 PM on April 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


FYI you can buy a quart at a time on Amazon now. I don't smuggle it back in my suitcase anymore.
posted by bradbane at 11:33 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dollar Tree (in PDX, and in other places I hear) has Dukes pretty regularly. They're in 8 oz plastic jars.
posted by vjpdx at 12:05 AM on April 8, 2016


peanut butter and hot dogs

(grew up in a Miracle Whip house, was mystified why on earth my mom went with that when I finally tried mayo and immediately recognized its inherent superiority. later, a first-grade kitchen mindblowing occurred when I was in a bind for mayo and somehow realized it could be made - Joy of Cooking, maybe? I tried it and IT WORKED.

still don't know why she went with Miracle Whip. We had horrible Carnation Instant Milk, too, as a cost-cutting measure. didn't know that milk was good until I moved out of the house.)
posted by mwhybark at 12:49 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


My issue with mayonnaise is just that it only lasts a couple of days after you make it or if it's bought, a couple of weeks after you open the jar, and I use like 2 tsp at a time, maybe once a week. It's super inconvenient. And for making it at home, you can't make small quantities because there's no such thing as a 16th of an egg, and I doubt it would emulsify properly anyway.
posted by lollusc at 1:05 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, my family back home in NZ makes traditional bogan "mayonnaise" by combining one part vinegar and two parts sweetened condensed milk and while that is weird as fuck on salad if you aren't expecting it, it lasts for-freaking-ever.
posted by lollusc at 1:07 AM on April 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


You should make it fairy-mayonnaise by adding sprinkles or those tiny silver candy balls that look like ball bearings.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:51 AM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


My issue with mayonnaise is just that it only lasts a couple of days after you make it

Huh. Our homemade stuff keeps for a couple of weeks, at least. A little less in the Pakistani summer. We're careful to spoon it out and use a different utensil for spreading than for taking out of the jar. I'm not sure if that makes a difference, tbh.
posted by bardophile at 2:01 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm right now on an elimination diet because we are checking our household for food allergies and I can't have mayonnaise and this thread is literally making me cry a little bit in despair and also I'm drooling like Pavlov's dog.

When I have mayonnaise back I am going to put it on everything for a week just to see what else it's good with. I love you, mayo! I'll see you again, one day!
posted by Scattercat at 2:09 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


effbot: Now I'm curious -- how do you make your own Maggi seasoning (Maggi-Würze)?

I totally agree that making the 'real thing' would be nigh on impossible unless your domestic kitchen happened to have a chemical engineering plant but I had a friend from Vietnam who had spent a very long time trying to achieve a similar tasting sauce. To the best of my knowledge, he never succeeded to his own satisfaction but perhaps the forces of BIG MAGGI-WÜRZE came in the night and abducted him when he came to close.

I haven't seen him in a while.

It's probably easier to correct my faulty association on writing and suggest that one might attempt to replicate the flavour of Maggi and the actual of other things that can be assembled without access to industrial acids and plant.
posted by nfalkner at 2:24 AM on April 8, 2016


Kewpie.

That is all.


Oooooh, this times a billion. I know people who detest mayo but when they (come to Japan and) try Kewpie Mayo, they turn a 180. It's sweet and thick--kind of a white ketchup. Which is a good thing thankyouverymuch.
posted by zardoz at 2:32 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I grew up in the southeastern US, and can recall family reunions at which there were disputes about the difference between salad dressing and mayonnaise. I was maybe 15? and saw Martin Mull's bit about mayonnaise and finally had an answer.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 2:42 AM on April 8, 2016


I'm pretty mayo agnostic but I don't really understand the hate. A nice thin layer of mayo on say -- a BLT (well, vegetarian version for me) -- is delicious and necessary. It provides a note of creamy fat that helps bring sandwiches together.

Mayo by itself is pretty neutral in flavor and I definitely don't want a lot of it on my sandwiches/etc., but I'm curious as to what people object to. Is it how it looks? The texture? Its misuse? That they've only had cheap bad ones? I'm genuinely curious about this.
posted by darksong at 3:45 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Sriracha-Mayo for dipping fries in is sort of hard to resist.

I disparagingly call that "hipster fry sauce" but I make it all the time. It is great with roasted potatoes, among many other things. Restaurants seem to call it "spicy aioli," and the taste of Sriracha is distinctive enough that I can always identify it.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:07 AM on April 8, 2016


Mayonnaise is for idiots? I beg to differ, idiots taste far better with ketchup. Mayonnaise is for poltroons and ruffians.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:37 AM on April 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


Ok, I'm going to open with a big admission here folks. I was raised on and still crave a sandwich consisting of cold (precooked) bacon and Miracle Whip on Wonderbread. No fucking substitutions!

You may be thinking, ewww, or "wow I bet that hurts your aorta," and you're not wrong on either count...but holy shit does that sandwich cause all the gratification centers in my brain to fire like a barge of fireworks misfiring all tubes at once.

Describing it as a BLT without lettuce or tomato did once make my wife gag. "You mean a BM sandwich?"

And yeah, I grew up in the Midwest.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:44 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


We never have mayonnaise in the fridge because my wife doesn't like it and I don't care one way or the other, but my big revelation (I am a little slow) was that you could read Lucky Peach online. I bought it once in that great bookstore in Portland, Maine, because it was The Japan Issue but never bought it again because it was a little pricey. But, online, not so much.

Things are not always "Same as in town."
posted by kozad at 5:05 AM on April 8, 2016


I would just like to say I am ashamed and deeply saddened to see all the mayonnaise hate on metafilter.

Stay strong my mayonnaise loving friends, stay strong!
posted by mayonnaises at 5:46 AM on April 8, 2016 [18 favorites]


Mayo is delicious, ketchup is delicious but mixed together they are magical. Pink sauce reigns supreme!
posted by lydhre at 6:19 AM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was overjoyed when Hellmans started packaging their mayo in squeeze containers. Now I wash about half as many bread knives.
posted by valkane at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't know how anyone could manage to eat a cold cut and cheese sandwich without mayo. It'd be like chewing sand. Unless you use an unreasonable amount of mustard (aka more than zero), but you won't be tasting the actual sandwich ingredients then.
posted by mattamatic at 6:47 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


This thread made me vomit all over keyboard. I signed up for an account just to say this.
posted by amcevil at 6:53 AM on April 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


I just read this well written article that made me think about my mom, my dad, bringing girlfriends home, weird family communication issues that still go on today that I try to work through and just when I think I'm getting somewhere at least with my own peace of mind, if not with the situation, I get jarred back to the sad reality that there's nothing I can do to change some things. Then I thought about my wife and kids and how I'm trying so hard to have the kind of family I've wanted to be a part of and it's really pretty great and we are close but I am sure they'll have unresolved issues with me and may someday write a similar piece and there may be nothing they can do about it either. Maybe some of that is because I'm trying too hard but what am I supposed to do?

Then I came in and read a bunch of comments about mayo. Mayo wasn't really the focus of the piece for me. I have a history of missing the point of things and maybe I did here too but it hit some nerve anyway. Thanks for the post.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 6:58 AM on April 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


Last time I visited my mom in Massachusetts, who also disapproves of Marshmallow Fluff (as do I!), her request was that I bring a jar of Duke's mayo up from NC.

I've never liked ketchup on fries, but a few trips to areas that do that convinced me that mayo is the proper dip.

My other mayo datapoint: wife grew up despising mayo (born and rasied in KY) but during the first pregnancy it became a major craving and has been a required item in our household since.
posted by bendybendy at 7:01 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


My issue with mayonnaise is just that it only lasts [...] a couple of weeks after you open the jar

The hell? It has never occurred to me to throw out a jar of mayo from the fridge. You eat it a dab at a time until it's gone, or until you move. And sometimes you take it with you when you move, if it's only a little past its use-by date.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:03 AM on April 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


I almost married someone who had such a strong aversion to mayonnaise that I had to walk ahead of him in any buffet or potluck line and warn him away from anything that might contain it. In the long run I'm grateful that it didn't work out.

I'm quite fond of the stuff myself as long as I never have to TOUCH it. I have weird tactile aversions and the gloppy greasiness of mayo is one of them. I may have inherited this unconsciously. One of our great family stories is about my grandmother, a wonderful and ladylike lady, finally reaching the end of her rope with one of her whiny sons at the dinner table, dipping into a jar of mayonnaise, and giving him a huge WHOP across the face with a big mayo blob. That story was mentioned by several different people at her funeral.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:12 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kewpie = mayo + MSG

which is not a bad thing.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:13 AM on April 8, 2016


I love mayonnaise so gd much. I can't eat fries or tater tots without it, because what's the point? Some kinda tangy-sweet-ass ketchup is supposed to be satisfying? NO. Because when you're enjoying a crispy-salty-fatty item, it needs a top note of fatty to make it really worthwhile.

BTW I think this should be a diet tip everyone knows, because you end up eating about half the french fries and feeling 200x more satisfied. Either that or you have a weird aversion to mayonnaise and don't touch the fries. Either way, diet win.
posted by witchen at 7:47 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Mayonaise" is a good Smashing Pumpkins song.
posted by giraffe at 8:06 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mayo wasn't really the focus of the piece for me.

Thank you, I was going to comment this as well. The article isn't about the virtue or villainy of mayonnaise. But I guess people are less interested in commenting about our parents' quirks, bugbears, and contradictions, and how they live on in our own adult lives, than in an impromptu referendum on their own tastes.
posted by aught at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mayo is delicious, ketchup is delicious but mixed together they are magical. Pink sauce reigns supreme!

Basically commercial French dressing, right?
posted by aught at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2016


Restaurants seem to call it "spicy aioli," and the taste of Sriracha is distinctive enough that I can always identify it.

There's a diner by me that makes spicy mayo by mixing mayo with chopped up chipotles in adobo (chipotles, adobo, and all) and it is, just, glorious.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:46 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


What is it with parents and condiments? My Mother was anti ketchup which was she thought was only for common folk. Mayonnaise and mustard(brown of course) were allowed in small amounts on sandwiches. They were mostly used in recipies as in potato salad, etc.
posted by PJMoore at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2016


The thought of mayo makes me gag. If I know it's in something I lose all interest in it.

I'm the same way.

If it's mayo mixed with something else and turned into an "aioli" I can sometimes eat it, but sometimes not. It depends how how heavy they went with the extra ingredients (the more the better, in my opinion). True aiolis are the best, if only because my love of garlic overcomes my hatred of all-things-egg.

Because of this intense dislike for mayonnaise, I was also not a big sandwich person for many years, until I realized I could use things like mustard (brown or honey, not that weird yellow stuff), hummus, or even guacamole instead. Now I like sandwiches well enough, but still can't stand mayo.
posted by PearlRose at 9:08 AM on April 8, 2016


idiots taste far better with ketchup. Mayonnaise is for poltroons and ruffians.

And rapscallions are best with mustard.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:10 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Kewpie.

YEP. Japan is the place that finally got me truly appreciating mayo. Because it's fuckin everywhere.

Back home I used it very sparingly. I used to make sandwiches thatwere just sliced tomato with a bit of salt, and a thin spread of mayo on toast. It's actually really tasty and I want one now.

Well I guess lunch is sorted.
posted by Hoopo at 9:25 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kewpie = mayo + MSG

which is not a bad thing.


Not, actually. Bit more complex than that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I used to make sandwiches that were just sliced tomato with a bit of salt, and a thin spread of mayo on toast.

My friends and I used to call that "redneck bruschetta".
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:04 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mmmm. Hon-dashi.
posted by valkane at 10:05 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, people who are grossed out by mayo may not want to click on the video:

"She sometimes takes a little pack of mayonnaise and she'll squirt it in her mouth all over. And then she'll take an egg and kind of...mmmm! She calls it a 'mayon-egg.'"

(the mayonegg has been on my mind since I've been slowly going through a bunch of boiled eggs this week and in the previous food topic someone mentioned drinking a deconstructed mimosa by swishing both in your mouth)
posted by FJT at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2016


Tore up a rug and left toast out for ants? No mayonnaise for you, two weeks!
posted by Splunge at 10:21 AM on April 8, 2016


What is it with parents and condiments? My Mother was anti ketchup which was she thought was only for common folk. Mayonnaise and mustard(brown of course) were allowed in small amounts on sandwiches. They were mostly used in recipies as in potato salad, etc.

YES: this is how it was in my family. No ketchup. (Except my gran had a secret stash she used for the brown sauce, the meat sauce for lasagna and the "homemade" 1000 island, and nobody could ever figure out why her food was so tasty because no ketchup allowed. I'm not exaggerating, everyone was sent out of the kitchen when she was about to take out the Heinz).

Also thanks, now I know why I hate kewpie, as a mayo-aficionado.

Everyone can see that the article is about family, but no-one wants to miss out on the possibility for a mayo-thread. That's obvious
posted by mumimor at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm always shocked by the number of people who hate lovely lovely mayo.
posted by Sassenach at 11:02 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why I grew up loathing mayonnaise — my brother loves it, and both my parents enjoy it. But something about the texture just … ugh. I think my real objection was putting it on fries, which is just too much warm globby shit all at once. I remember none of my school friends understanding why I couldn't stand it — they all dipped their pizza in ranch dressing too.

But in my neighborhood, not liking mayo was the norm. I remember watching "Undercover Brother" and thinking that the watch that squirted hot sauce was the best thing ever — beats carrying packets with you.

I will admit a certain affection for Miracle Whip, and I've come to love some homemade mayonnaise, but the Helmans shit? It has corn syrup in it, fer chrissakes. It's all the wrong.

As for weird parental prohibitions — my parents forbade me to watch a lot of TV or listen to a lot of music while I was growing up, generally on the grounds that it was "inappropriate." Basically anything with violence or sexism, that was their stated objective, which eliminated huge swaths of popular entertainment — I remember having to sneak a radio so I could listen to Salt N Peppa's "Push It." But as I got older, I realized that a lot of the things that they had banned as inappropriate just were things that they didn't like — really, "Full House" is just kind of a crappy show, not one that threatens to subvert right-thinking people everywhere. Overall, the "liberal censorship" of my youth is something that I find more funny than offensive now, but I missed out on stuff like the Golden Age of rap (while Beastie Boys were somehow appropriate when I listened to them with my parents — since my dad had bought License to Ill on tape — Wu Tang was right out) because of my parents' idiosyncratic aesthetic philosophy and the lies they told to justify it. It also leads to weird conversations in the other direction — sometimes I assume that everyone is familiar with the skronk jazz canon, so they'll recognize how weird it is to have Albert Ayler on Whitney Houston's first recording.
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]




Mayonnaise is the the condiment they force you to eat in Hell. FOR ALL ETERNITY.
posted by holborne at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2016


More secret family food shame involving mayo: According to my mom, my grandmother use to serve a "salad"/dessert thingy that was a ring of canned pinapple topped with a scoop of cottage cheese, a dollop of mayo and sprinkled with paprika. So glad she'd graduated to simple home-canned peaches by the time I came along.

I make my own mayonnaise, because I can choose nicer oils than commercial and I go though periods of using an astonishing amount. My immersion blender has more than paid for itself in mayo savings. Add some whey drained from yogurt or sour cream and it seems to last forever in the fridge.

Sriracha's sister product, chili garlic paste, is the perfect pairing to make tuna salad. Sriracha mayo is better with chicken.
posted by monopas at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I used to make sandwiches that were just sliced tomato with a bit of salt, and a thin spread of mayo on toast.

Tomato and salt was old school electrolyte replacement.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2016


also makes tomato taste better
posted by Hoopo at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2016


...if you live in a place that has shitty tomatoes, that is
posted by Hoopo at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I can appreciate both sides, now.

I was raised to disdain mayo, especially the store bought stuff. Laughed at stereotypes of white people liking mayo. It was unhealthy, low class, and just plain gross.

But in the last few years I discovered Trader Joe's mayo (it's extra tangy and lemony), and now I have a minor substance abuse problem. So... I guess nature finally won out over nurture?

Also, a little garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and maybe some mustard and whatnot, and you've got aioli.

(please don't tell my cardiologist or mom.)
posted by Davenhill at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2016


(all of those things except garlic are also in properly made mayonnaise)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


A nutritionist here recently claimed mayo is healthier than butter - since then, my daughter has known no limits.
posted by mumimor at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2016


Mayonnaise is the the condiment they force you to eat in Hell. FOR ALL ETERNITY.

I guess that makes me feel a little better about my inevitable fate.
posted by aught at 12:59 PM on April 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


but the Helmans shit? It has corn syrup in it,

I'm not sure that it does. I think it has a small amount of sugar, but not HFCS. If that's any consolation to you. (Likely not, from your tone of disgust.) But most "real" mayo is chiefly egg and oil with vinegar.
posted by aught at 1:04 PM on April 8, 2016


> Mayo and pork floss

Oh hells yes! I used to slather mayo on saltines and top with pork floss (the crunchy kind, not the weak-sauce smushy kind).

I rarely eat at McDonalds but I'll ask for a packet of "McChicken sauce" (which is essentially mayo) if I ordered fries. Fill those little paper ketchup cups half full with ketchup, squirt in an equal amount of McChicken sauce. Add an extra packet of salt on the fries and a few little packets of pepper. Dip fries in the improvised "french dressing." Gold.
posted by porpoise at 1:07 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Miracle Whip is the one with HFCS
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2016


Honestly, contributing to the Great Mayonnaise Referendum is easier than commenting on the other issues in that piece. I can't really figure out what it's about. Everyone's behaving really oddly, people don't say what they mean. And the mayo issue becomes a proxy for the odd family dynamics at play? I don't know.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:15 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mayo and pork floss

Is that the new Primus album?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's just easier to talk about mayonnaise than why you don't get along with your mother.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:04 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh it's easy to talk about why I don't get along with my mother, she's a woman who never should have had children and paid us only glancing attention if any when growing up, as long as it didn't inconvenience her.

I'd just rather talk about mayonnaise in the same way I'd rather talk about cookies than abscesses.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had an abscess once caused by a weird ingrown hair thing. It got infected and I left it alone, and eventually the pore or whatever was surrounded by a semi-solid mass of, what, pus, I guess. Looked sorta like mayo when it came out. I was crashing on a friend's floor in New Orleans. I had the good sense to get some dressings for it. It was grody.
posted by mwhybark at 5:03 PM on April 8, 2016


pus, I guess. Looked sorta like mayo

...and it's surprising that I hate mayo?
posted by Night_owl at 5:30 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I rarely eat at McDonalds but I'll ask for a packet of "McChicken sauce" (which is essentially mayo) if I ordered fries. Fill those little paper ketchup cups half full with ketchup, squirt in an equal amount of McChicken sauce. Add an extra packet of salt on the fries and a few little packets of pepper. Dip fries in the improvised "french dressing." Gold.

I've always thought it odd that McDonalds (and other national fast food chains) make occasional nods to regional differences but as far as I know none of them offer fry sauce even though it is a preferred fast-food condiment across a sizeable portion of the US.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:49 PM on April 8, 2016


Two-minute mayo, made with immersion blender.

This really works! I'm so excited! Unfortunately, if your oil has gone rancid since you last used any (and your sense of smell is so bad you don't notice it when you open the jar) the result is inedible.

I'll try again tomorrow with fresh oil.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:11 PM on April 8, 2016


I just want to say, "Pommes frites avec mayonnaise, in a cone of paper, on the docks in Leiden, and smoked eel, wrapped in newspaper." Oh yes, I just wanted to say that.
posted by Oyéah at 10:05 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


You could have ROBBED my ex with a jar of mayo, so great was his aversion.

I pay to check luggage when coming back from The Promised Land, where the streets are paved with Camellia beans and the Duke's flows like wine. Thankfully I don't have to go to Japan anymore to get Kewpie.

And thank you, OP, because I didn't realize I was hungry until reading this, and now have three Momofuku steamed buns (they freeze beautifully!) stuffed with a little pork belly and Kewpie and Sriracha in my belly. Mmm, mmm.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 3:11 PM on April 9, 2016


Hellmann's ingredients: soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, calcium sodium EDTA, natural flavors.

You can pick nits about whether you want mostly-flavorless, GMO soybean oil as the base of your mayo, you might take offense at the sugar, and you might be a little alarmed by that EDTA (a very common preservative. You want preservatives in any mass-produced mayo, trust me.) But you've got no beef with Hellmann's about corn syrup.
posted by gingerest at 7:05 PM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


It looks to me like a whole big mess of projection, denial, and decades-long petty deceipts and manipulations.
Yeah, that's some classic gaslighting and passive-aggression by her mother; buying a jar of mayo for the boyfriend after a lifetime of commentary about how it's low-class/for idiots/whatever, and then saying "I never thought you’d eat it. You were always against that kind of thing," as if all those years of weird, judgey anti-mayonnaise edicts had never happened, and she (the author) was the only reason they never had mayo. If that's the kind of screwed up dynamic they have over something as inconsequential as mayonnaise, how dysfunctional is that relationship when it comes to things that actually matter?

RE: Mayo/Miracle whip in general:
I don't recall it being so apparent with other foods but for whatever reason my parents considered Miracle Whip to be trashy, unlike regular mayo.
I would love to know where this weird bias comes from. (Discussed tangentially but not really resolved in this mayonnaise thread a few years ago.) I can understand not liking Miracle Whip because of the taste/texture/etc, but where did this concept of Miracle Whip as low-class come from? Did it used to be significantly cheaper than mayo? Did some stand-up comic have a popular "poor people eat Miracle Whip" bit in the 70s? Did the American Mayonnaise Council run a classist anti-sandwich spread campaign 40 years ago? It's so mystifying to me (who grew up in a family with no particularly strong positions on condiments in general, least of all Miracle Whip.)
posted by usonian at 2:08 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think miracpe whip is eggless and great in potato salad. Mayonnaise was the religion that stuck in my house.
posted by Oyéah at 3:55 PM on April 13, 2016


From here:

While it contains mayo's key ingredients (egg, soybean oil, vinegar, water), Miracle Whip sets itself apart with a sweet, spicy flavor that some folks prefer. First introduced during the Depression, when its cheaper price made it alluring to people who couldn't afford more highfalutin mayo, it's now caught up, costing about the same amount per ounce as the real thing.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:10 PM on April 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


While it contains mayo's key ingredients (egg, soybean oil, vinegar, water), Miracle Whip sets itself apart with a sweet, spicy flavor that some folks prefer. First introduced during the Depression, when its cheaper price made it alluring to people who couldn't afford more highfalutin mayo, it's now caught up, costing about the same amount per ounce as the real thing.

That is amazing -- the social prejudice against Miracle Whip in my family is at this point probably a good 85 years old, and yet is still alive and kicking eight decades since it was at all relevant.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:13 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like at this point/by Gen X's childhood it had morphed into a "hicks eat MW"/hurf durf sugar thing. But there is still definitely an overtone that it's cheap or trashy compared to the unbearable sophistication of mayo.

I can tell you that when I was about 7 we had neighbors who moved to Texas from Iowa and they made me a sandwich with butter and I was all "wait, really?" and they were all "what else would you use?" and I actually said, "may-naize?" (rather than MW, which I suddenly suspected they did not know about) and they were like "you mean like in potato salad?"

That was a weird experience. Also the sandwich was made with actual slices of pot roast, so basically I was like "so Iowa is another planet, then?" (Then they offered me a glass of malk, and I knew for sure.)
posted by Lyn Never at 6:33 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Amazing re MW, LN. I certainly knew that my family's sometimes irrationally economically efficient food choices were conditioned by the Depression (my mother's family were tenant farmers and then migrant workers when my mother was an infant and a tot), but I had no idea that my mother's taste preference for Miracle Whip is, in essence, based on brand loyalty to a Depression-era marketing strategy.

Now that I'm an underemployed fifty-something, I'm insistent on mayo.
posted by mwhybark at 7:32 PM on April 13, 2016


I've always thought it odd that McDonalds (and other national fast food chains) make occasional nods to regional differences but as far as I know none of them offer fry sauce even though it is a preferred fast-food condiment across a sizeable portion of the US.

One of the standout memories of my family's Great Southwestern Road Trip of 1999 was that the McDonald's we stopped at in Utah gave us packets of fry sauce instead of ketchup.
posted by clorox at 11:56 PM on April 30, 2016


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