Rick Millians

Rick Millians

This time of year, is there anything better than two slices of white bread, slathered with mayonnaise and topped with fresh, juicy tomatoes and plenty of salt and pepper?

I can't think of anything better, unless you add bacon and lettuce.

We're growing tomatoes on our back deck, so a fresh supply is just a few steps away. (The tomatoes in the garden we share with Randy Dalrymple are coming along a little slower, but that's good. Hopefully, we'll have tomatoes all summer.)

That means we're also using a lot of mayo. In fact, I just got up to check the refrigerator and the pantry. There's about half a jar of Blue Plate in the fridge, and a new jar of Hellman's in the pantry. Just wanted to make sure we're not going to run out. 

I usually buy either Blue Plate or Hellman's, whichever is on sale. Duke's is good, too, but it's more of a South Carolina tradition, and I'm in Georgia now.

In addition to those three mayo brands, Kroger has its own label as well as Kraft, Heinz and something called Sir Kensington's.

Sir Kensington's says its Classic Mayonnaise "is prepared after the French tradition with certified humane, free-range eggs, smooth sunflower oil, and bright hints of citrus. Silky and versatile, it's an elegant offering . . ."

That's too high-end for me. 

And, of course, there's Miracle Whip, which is lower in fat and calories. Nah, who wants that?

Southern Living magazine had its readers rate mayos. They rated Duke's as best, followed by Hellman's, Blue Plate, Mrs. Filbert's, Just Mayo and Kraft's Real Mayo. Actually, something called Bama Mayo made the list, but it was disqualified by me until Georgia beats Alabama (if there is a college football season).

Somehow, Hellman's and Blue Plate join Kraft in insisting on having the words "Real Mayonnaise" on the label. As compared to what, "Fake Mayonnaise"?

Mayo is egg yolks, oil and an acid, usually vinegar.

Unless, you want organic mayo, mayo with avocado oil or mayo with olive oil.

Whatever. 

We also use mayonnaise in chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad and pimento cheese. It's in Thousand Island and ranch dressing, as well as tartar sauce. Potato salad, coleslaw, broccoli salad and fruit salad taste better with mayo.

There's also Big Bob Gibson's original white BBQ sauce at his restaurant in Decatur, Ala. It's heavy on the mayo and has horseradish to kick it up a few notches. 

It's not bad, but somehow I can't get past having mayonnaise in BBQ sauce. I'll stick to traditional Georgia BBQ sauce ingredients such as vinegar and ketchup. 

And I'll never forget my mother putting a dollop of mayo and sprinkling a little cheese on congealed salad or canned pears or peaches. 

They used to do that, too, in the Baldwin High cafeteria. I liked it, but more than half the students scraped off the mayo. 

And I bet plenty of people in the South grew up eating banana sandwiches with mayo, although banana and peanut butter is better. I've had pineapple slices and mayo sandwiches, too.

But I do draw the line about mayo on some things. I like Chick-fil-A the best because they don't put mayo on their chicken sandwiches like Popeye's, Wendy's and a bunch of other places. I want to taste the chicken, not the mayo.

And I don't want mayo on my hamburgers, although I do break down every now and then and get a Whopper all the way. That Burger King mayo, I believe, is the sweetest I've ever tasted. 

All this mayo talk got me to thinking about people named Mayo — first name or surname. There was former NBA player O.J. Mayo. And there was former Detroit Tigers baseball manager Mayo Smith. Smith's grandmother had been a patient at the Mayo Clinic and liked the name. But a lot of people called Smith by his nickname, "Catfish."

And just this week I saw the college football bowl game in Charlotte that used to be called the Belk Bowl will now be called the Duke’s Mayonnaise Bowl. As the game sponsors change, that bowl also has been called the Continental Tire Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Center Bowl. 

Next to those, the Duke's Mayo Bowl doesn't sound so bad. 

It prompted Associated Press college football writer Ralph D. Russo to tweet: "The winner of the Duke's Mayo Bowl and the winner of the Idaho Potato (Bowl) advance to the Grandma's Potato Salad Bowl."

Just make it heavy on the mayo. 

Rick Millians, a 1970 Baldwin graduate, can be reached at 803-331-4290 or rdmillians@aol.com.

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