The Other Side of the Great Mayo Debate

Skippy, Skippy, Skippy . . . though I will concede a particular dislike to the notion of mayonnaise mixed with a good salami or pepperoni (as we all know, the most sensual of the salted, cured meats), and a true gag reflex to the story you tell about the mayo-bacon soup you say that woman ordered, you cannot so simply dismiss the subtle yet quintessential role that mayonnaise plays in the proper sandwich.

In mayonnaise we have a connection to the Old World, where mayonnaise has a history dating back to the mid 18th Century, and where it has been a staple of French cuisine.  Ambrose Bierce, and American journalist of that time, wrote that that mayonnaise is “One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.”  It is the base for such culinary staples as aioli, sauce remoulade Thousand Island Dressing and Tartar sauce.

In the properly constructed sandwich, a thin layer of mayo on each slice of bread forms a moisture barrier keeping the juicy tomato, the plucky pickle, and the spicy relish from turning the sandwich into a soggy ball of mush.  The mayo also allows for structural integrity by allowing for adhesion among the various sandwich-strata, allowing for the proper ratio of ingredients in each bite. 

Without mayo we would not enjoy the ease of Tuna salad sandwiches; the joy of Egg salad sandwiches; the mystery of Seafood salad sandwiches; the versatility of Ranch Dressing; nor the sublime joy of a properly mixed Fry Sauce.  Mayonnaise and the good ol’ American Hamburger?  No Summer delight can rival the savory sauce created by a grilled hamburger patty nestled in a fresh bun spread with a light layer of mayonnaise sprinkled with a few grinds of black pepper — one of the true culinary gems of the Backyard Grill Warrior.

OH MAYO, WE MOURN THE RECENT MALIGNING OF THY NAME, AND PROMISE TO MAKE GREATER EFFORT TO EXPOUND THY GOODNESS AND VERSATILITY IN THE REALM OF GOOD CUISINE SERVED QUICKLY.  IN THY MERCY, Amen.

So, again, I concede it is not to be gooped about mindlessly, nor served unjudiciously — but used properly it is truly a marvel that deserves our love and respect.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Mookie

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3 Comments

Filed under Mookie's Thoughts

3 responses to “The Other Side of the Great Mayo Debate

  1. cageboy

    Wait wait wait – so your big argument in defense of mayo is a linkage to ancient French cuisine? That’s all you got? I might suggest also that while it is not a culinary choice I make, mustard shares mayos adhesive properties when it comes to sandwich construction. But what I saw last night was just a crime against all culinary convention. Mook, what can I say – we’ll simply need to agree to disagree on the great mayo debate. Incidently, next time you come to my house, I’m serving you up a great big ol’ mayo sammich on two thick slices of white Wonder bread.

  2. cageboy

    Mmmmm. Mayo and Wonder bread — the essense of being a suburban, white boy in America.

  3. shelleykennedy

    Mookie (is it okay for me to call you that?), I’m with you. In fact, yesterday I bought a two pound heirloom tomato from Wegmen’s and fell asleep looking forward to having it for breakfast sliced onto a piece of lightly toasted potato bread, spread with a thin smear of mayonaise and sprinkled with sea salt. I can’t wait.

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