I once bonded with a complete stranger I met at a party over mayonnaise. We were friends for years after that. She also made this odd faux sweet potato dish with boiled, mashed carrots, but that’s not the important issue, here. What’s important is that we bonded over our mutual, excessive and probably psychologically worrisome love for mayonnaise.
Now, a few definitions are in order. Miracle Whip is not mayonnaise. It couldn’t even dream of being mayonnaise in its darkest fever dreams. It is a sweet goo that people who must be excused because they don’t know any better, mistake for mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is not sweet. Also, besides something hand made like the nectar of the gods served at Cassilles Hamburgers on sixth street in downtown Los Angeles, unless the mayonnaise is Best Foods (oddly called Hellman’s east of the Rockies) Real Mayonnaise, it isn’t the best.
I realize my mayonnaise addiction isn’t rational. (What addiction is? To paraphrase Kenneth Halliwell in Prick Up Your Ears, the whole point of an addiction is to not make sense.) Roommates have been known to hide the household stash from me. In stronger days, I’ve rationed it by buying the very small, much more expensive jars. I’ve even gone great periods of time without mayonnaise, but then someone will bring a jar to a picnic or pot luck and I’m off.
I can make a salad out of anything. Ever thought of corn salad? Frozen sweet corn (thawed, of course), garlic, a touch of onion, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Sometimes, for pep, I squeeze a very small spot of yellow mustard into it. Pea salad? Same concept, no mustard, but you can add basil, parsley and a touch of sage and thyme to that. (Just a touch, you don’t want to actually tasted the sage and thyme, it’s there for a hint not a flavor.)
I’ve put mayonnaise in mashed potatoes. I’ve put it on mashed banana sandwiches. I learned this treat from my Grandpa Hoff, who also, sometimes, added peanut butter to the mix. Also, sandwiches made from dill pickles sliced lengthwise and cheddar cheese with thinly sliced white onions and a healthy dollop of mayonnaise. Trust me on this one. I’ve converted many people to it. Not so many to the whole banana peanut butter thing. Most people simply aren’t that adventurous, culinarily speaking.
My mother used to make this warm German potato salad. She was very proud of it. No, she wasn’t German. I think it was a leftover part of the pact between Hitler and Italy before the fall of Mussolini. I hated it. First, it was warm. Second, it had no mayonnaise in it, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the main reason for the existence of potato salad. Sort of like popcorn’s only positive attribute is as a vehicle to bring butter into the system, but that’s a subject for another post. Potato salad should contain potatoes for substance, chopped celery for crunch, chopped dill pickles or olives for salt and pep, and mayonnaise. (I also like to add some spices like salt, pepper, garlic and onion, but I’m Italian, and that sort of goes without saying. I said it anyway. I’m verbose that way.)
Due to several varied health issues, I’ve given up cheese (very difficult), bread (relatively difficult), chicken skin (I usually say a small benediction over it before tossing it down the garbage disposal) and several other delectable edibles, but not mayonnaise. Perhaps some day I’ll need to. It will be a very sad day. I may have to recover with several days a-bed, wearing black pajamas and listening to Joni Mitchell and early Simon and Garfunkel albums. Until that day, I’ll continue to try to ration myself, but won’t feel too very guilty when I notice another jar has mysteriously been emptied.
Geoff Hoff is co-author of the best selling satirical novel Weeping Willow: Welcome to River Bend
|Sign up to get updates from Geoff and get the eBook, “Unleash Your Creative Writer” free.|