Thursday, May 23, 2013
Kraft, Duke's, or Hellman's? Or Blue Plate? Or ... ?
A few days ago, Karl Worley of Biscuit Love Truck here in Nashville posted an experimental recipe for pimento cheese on Twitter. The recipe specified Duke's mayonnaise. Lesley Lassiter, of Lesley Eats and Bites Blog (on the Nashville Scene), offered the opinion that she preferred Kraft mayonnaise. This launched a lively (friendly) debate amongst Nashville food enthusiasts about the Mayo of Choice. Before long Karl predicted that the headline in the next day's newspaper would read "Local Bloggers Tip Food Truck Over Mayo War." BJ Lofback of Riff's Truck dubbed the discussion #mayogate, participants started reaching out to chefs and food writers. Lesley wrote a fun post summarizing the mayo war on the Scene's web site, and the debate has continued. As for me ...
When I was growing up in the Atlanta area, my mother and my paternal grandmother (Nanny) used Blue Plate primarily, if not exclusively. At that point I just considered mayonnaise a necessary moistener for sandwiches and potato salad. (I was also fascinated by the water tower at the Blue Plate plant in a neighboring town: It was painted to look like a jar of Blue Plate! For a grainy B&W picture, after the brand changed to Mrs. Filbert's, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/11035256@N05/3303227591/lightbox/.) When I was old enough to stay overnight with my maternal grandmother (Celie Mama), though, I discovered that she used Kraft. Kraft mayonnaise was a revelation to me. It had a stiffer texture, which I liked, and a lemony tang that seemed to enhance the overall taste of the food. When I was on my own and buying my own groceries, I made a beeline for Kraft and never looked back.
Sure, with the advent of food TV I started hearing that these famous chefs preferred Hellman's, and even went so far as to specify it in their recipes. I tried it. It was fine. But it was not what I wanted when I wanted mayonnaise. As for Duke's, despite its reputation as an iconic Southern brand, I'd never HEARD of it until a few years ago, when it started to be touted as an iconic Southern brand. I'd be willing to give it a try, but I've never been able to find it in less than a quart size jar. I don't buy quarts of mayonniase as it is -- a pint can last me forever. So, if you ever see Duke's for sale in a half-pint jar, let me know.
And Miracle Whip? Don't even go there. Don't. Even.