Friends, I know STSO is generally a pretty lighthearted environment, but today I want to address something that effects us all. I’m not afraid to spearhead the dialogue.
Friends, I’m talking about mayonnaise.
Unless you’re in the anti-mayo camp (in which case we could still be friends but probably never truly be close), you likely have a strong loyalty to a particular brand. I have always been a Hellman’s girl. Even as a kid, I remember trying Hellman’s at a friend’s house and returning home to tell my Mom I could no longer be subjected to the inferiority of Miracle Whip. I loved the rich saltiness of Hellman’s. I was (and remain) a big fan of tomato and mayo sandwiches and Hellman’s elevated this humble snack to a delectable treat. To my my Mom’s credit, she respected my culinary stance and from then on we always had a small jar of Hellman’s on the frig door.
Somewhere along the road I read about another respected leader in the mayo community – Duke’s. I came to know Duke’s as the reigning favorite in the Southern U.S. I’d long wanted to try this venerable ingredient and during our recent visit to Georgia, I picked-up a jar at a Kroger in Athens. It was definitely the most unique souvenir I’d ever brought home from a trip.
I couldn’t wait to conduct a taste test. Would I like Duke’s more than Hellman’s? I stood in my kitchen sampling little bites of both brands. I went back and forth. Ultimately, I decided they’re both extremely high quality condiments. Hellman’s is so salty and rich and delicious, but Duke’s plays a bit of a flavor twist on you – it’s smooth at first, but the tang hits you right at the end. It has a very strong finish.
Michael felt very much the same. His comments verbatim:
Smooth on the palate
Acidity at the end is intense
Aftertaste let’s you know you are dealing with a different mayo
I decided to conduct a blind taste test. I picked-up my favorite loaf of country white bread from the Whole Foods bakery, spread Hellmann’s on one slice and Duke’s on another, topped both with tomatoes and dusted with fresh ground pepper. I was nervous – would we be able to tell the difference?
We both knew which was Hellmann’s and which was Duke’s. In terms of favorites, Michael is now a convert and a proud member of Team Duke. I’m still a Hellmann’s girl. There’s room in my frig for a second jar of mayo, though. We both agree that Duke’s would really shine if you’re making a sandwich or a salad (potato or chicken for example) where you’re looking for extra flavor. If you’re looking for richness in texture, Hellmann’s is best.
Since I had 62 ounces of mayo in my refrigerator, I decided to make something that would showcase the Duke’s I had schlepped all the way home from the Peach State. I made a batch of pimiento cheese, a Southern classic which includes cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and pimientos. It’s rustic, no-frills and classically served with white bread, Ritz crackers or celery. Little known fact, I do not enjoy Ritz crackers, but these Ritz Toasted Chips are a great alternative. This would be a terrific appetizer if you’re hosting a Memorial Day barbecue. It’s delicious on burgers.
Adapted from F For Food
This is a half recipe.
1/2 block (4 oz) of sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated on the smaller side of a box grater
1/2 block (4 oz) of sharp white cheddar cheese, grated on the smaller side of a box grater
1/2 jar (2 oz) of pimientos
1 tbsp pimiento juice
1/8 medium Vidalia onion, microplaned
2 generous dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of Duke’s mayonnaise
Salt & fresh ground pepper
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cheese, mayo and onion. Mix together vigorously with a fork until everything is combined. Add the pimientos and continue to mix. Add pimiento juice and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare sandwiches on thin slices of white bread or serve with crackers or celery stalks.
Best eaten with friends while watching Steele Magnolias.
What’s your favorite mayonnaise? Let me know by leaving a comment below or a post on the Something To Snack On Facebook page!