I just don’t like it, OK?

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

I don’t like mayonnaise. 

It’s nothing personal. I mean, Mayo has never done anything to maliciously attack, defame or maim me. Unless you count that time I almost bit myself trying to spit it out. But I guess that was more on me, so …

But the egg/oil/mysteriousness combination just does not appeal to me. 

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I have tried to like it, I honestly have. It would make life so much easier to not have to ask, “What’s on it?” or “Does it have mayo?” before accepting a sandwich at a potluck or picnic. It would save countless minutes of walking back into a fast food establishment to swap out a sandwich I got in the drive-thru that not only had mayo, but got extra just to spite me, I think. 

I have munched away at a white-slathered sammich making “yummy” noises, and telling myself over and over how delicious it was, only to hear my taste buds yell horrible things at me. 

I understand the appeal of mayo, I think. It adds a moisture element to what might otherwise be a dry food offering. Some people love the flavor and even have their preferred brands. My wife Donna and our friend Sean swear by Duke’s. 

But hot sauce, BBQ sauce, or mustard can add a moisture element and be much tastier, in my opinion. A chicken sandwich with any of the above is much improved, I believe, and a ham or turkey sandwich is elevated by a bit of brown spicy mustard. 

But the same sandwich is ruined by the devil’s condiment. OK, I made it personal. 

I don’t like the taste, the texture, the smell, or even the look of that stuff. I mean, who came up with this stuff?

Well, according to online sources, most culinary historians agree it has its roots with the Egyptians and Romans, who used a combination of egg and olive oil as a dietary supplement. But a French chef in 1756 is credited with first preparing what developed into the modern condiment. Chef Marie-Antonie Careme reportedly was going to make a common sauce of cream and egg as part of a victory feast after the French captured the Spanish Port Mahon on the island of Minorca. When he could find no cream, Careme substituted olive oil and the creation was well-received by the feast’s attendees, including the Duke. The condiment was dubbed “mayonnaise” in honor of Port Mahon. 

Then again, the Spanish claim they invented it and Minorcan locals taught it to the chef. Whichever is correct, Careme’s recipe is what survived and became popular, making its way to the United States much later. 

Richard Hellman is credited with making mayo a common kitchen item when he and his wife used their homemade mayonnaise as a binding material for the salads they sold in their New York City deli in 1912. He soon made the condiment available to the masses in small, affordable quantities, and the rest is creamy, nasty history.

In the seventh grade, I had a classmate named Wayne. Wayne loved mayo so much we dared him to put it on just about everything, and he would. Why not, since he loved it? I have vivid memories of him (at our urging) putting it atop a piece of cake in the school cafeteria, and also into a glass of water, and consuming both happily. I might have thrown up in my mouth a little. My therapist is working to help make this a repressed memory for me. 

For now I’ll just keep having a “live and let live” attitude with mayo. Yea though I walk through the condiment aisle, I will fear no evil … and mayo and I will give each other side-eye as we pass. I’ll nod and be polite, and he will simply stare. It is what it is.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.