Friday, September 19, 2008

In Defense of Mayo

Recently, the subject of mayonnaise has taken on the tone of Obama vs. McCain.

What did mayo do to earn such vitriolic attacks in the blogosphere?

A fairly bland, innocent sauce, it seems inoffensive to me but several blog posts I have read recently talk about mayo as if it is solely responsible for all the obesity and lack of taste in this country.

I understand that too much mayo is not a good thing, that it clogs arteries and coats taste buds equally well when used to excess.

Used sparingly, however, I think it improves lots of foods. For example, fresh, ripe tomato slices are great with a tiny dab of mayo and a generous sprinkling with freshly ground pepper. Belgian fries are sublime with the lemony mayonnaise served in that country. I make a dynamite creamy Caesar dressing using just a tablespoon thinned with lemon juice and mixed with garlic and anchovies. I like it on sandwiches to keep the bread from getting soggy. It is the foundation for great curried deviled eggs. I could go on all day but I don't really need to - I'd just like to ask, what is it about mayonnaise that turns you off?

What did mayo ever do to deserve such scurrilous attacks?

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16 Comments:

Blogger peter said...

It's French; rename it "Freedomaise" and you'll have a winner.

I think most of the haters were for Mayo before they were against it. I solve all this by making it myself, which also allow for customizing flavors.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I think that the battle against obesity has reached new lows. All fat is demonized while few are paying attention to portions. Unfortunately, mayo IS often glopped into food like potato salad in huge amounts. Then, people eat huge amounts + fast food + all sorts of other unwise food choices. It's easy to blame mayo. It's white, it's fluffy, it's (mostly) not used in gourmet cooking and it can't move very fast -- if at all. A sitting target.
But I'm with you with the mayo on tomatoes or a BLT sandwich.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger Wheatless Foodie said...

I only know one person who hates mayo, and she's a little odd.

My current favorite lunch is to toss garden fresh tomato and lettuce with crumbled bacon and gluten free toast then lightly dress with mayo and black pepper for a BLT salad.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Anonymous Mrs. L said...

I ate mayo sandwiches when I was a kid and I was skinny so that throws that theory out the window!

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger kudzu said...

What bothers me more about the "fatty" issue with mayonnaise is its reputation as a crowd killer in the summertime. Because the mayo we use is processed, it is far safer in hot weather than the contents of sandwiches (chicken, cold cuts, et al) but is still blamed....I, too, loved mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread. They were best, of course, when made with my grandmother's hand-whisked spread.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger Terry B said...

First, kudzu is absolutely right. recent studies show that mayo actually slows or stops the growth of bacteria in other foods when mixed with them. and second, moderation is the key. I don't use mayonnaise often, but when I do, it's delicious. Once when I was in a deli a woman was ordering a sandwich and said, "And add just a scrape of mayonnaise." A perfect description for a nice, modest amount.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Peter, but we adore all things French, so why not mayo?

Nancy, Julia Child (my heroine) scoffed at the low-fat movement - I'm with her.

W Foodie, welcome! Love the BLT salad idea - especially this time of year when the Ts are so flavorful.

Mrs. I, I had a friend who liked mayo and white sugar sandwiches on gooshy white bread - I was consumed with envy then but can't imagine eating such now.

Kudzu, now that's interesting! I blamed the mayo last time I was food poisoned and it was probably the cold cuts, instead!

TerryB, love that description - a "scrape," perfect.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I think mayonnaise is great, and I don't mind saying I buy Best Foods. (Yes, I make my own sometimes, but...)
I think there are people who get creeped out by mayo, though, and that's OK. (There are actually people who get creeped out by raw tomatoes, which I don't understand... but that's OK.)
I'm really narrow-minded about how I will eat summer tomatoes, though: salted, a whisper of good olive oil, maybe some pepper. No mayo. Except on BLTs.
(I used to make myself mustard-and-mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread when I was a kid. And I was skinny too.)

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Anonymous Alison said...

I was just rereading "On Food and Cooking" and got to the egg section, and Harold McGee looks back on the cholesterol freak-out of the 80's and 90's. I'm not sure we over that. A few people I know dislike mayo, but I happen to love it.

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Mayo on BLTs YES. Mayo in potato salad YES. But not goops and goops, globbed all over the place, an elegant sufficiency is all that’s required (and preferably home made, yum)

Friday, September 19, 2008  
Blogger Susan Spracher Macaluso said...

My kids are such hardcore mayo fans they only want the homemade stuff. They'll eat it with a spoon. Viva La Mayo!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, you still are slender - wish I knew your secret!

Allison, I think you're right - it the fat phobia at work.

Morgan, it's the goops and goops, I think, that turns people off.

Susan, your kids are lucky that their Mom makes it from scratch.

Saturday, September 20, 2008  
Blogger Buzz Baylis said...

In the '80s I was in charge of procuring breakfast fro a camping trip with 8 dads with their daughters.

One of the choices was the single serving cereals in a box. My error I learned was bringing 2% milk.

The little ladies said can't 'do' that. I know a few of them decided not to have breakfast. I was bummed (for not selecting better) and upset that they would go 'hungry' rather than let a ever so small dose of a non approved food slip into their systems!

It was a stunning realization that the fat-phobia had gotten out of control!

MB

Monday, September 22, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Buzz, wow, what did they want, 1%?

Monday, September 22, 2008  
Blogger Brittany said...

Whos dissin mayo?!? I LOVE Mayo- and I'll shout it from the mountain tops. My grandma uses mayo in the frying pan when making grilled cheese. I'd love to give the so-called "mayo-haters" a bite of that crispily perfect sammich and then see what they think it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Brittany, welcome! And thanks for the idea of the mayo/grilled cheese! That sounds divinely decadent, only to be savored after a five-mile hike!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008  

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