Friday, 1 June 2007

Mayonnaise: The White Man's Poison

by Charles Pooter

In the otherwise undistinguished 2002 comedy Undercover Brother, a heroic member of the black freedom fighters known as the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. goes undercover, disguised as a white guy, to fight against the evil machination of "The Man". Before commencing his mission, a smart comrade tells him "If you're going to fit in to white America, you're gonna have to learn to like mayonnaise!" It becomes a running joke of the film that white people like to smother their food, and any possibility of flavour, in the white, creamy goo. The only antidote for a brother faced with the evil substance is a good dose of hot sauce. In this respect the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. were right: mayonnaise is truly the white man's poison.

A decade ago, when I made some youthful trips to the continent, I looked upon the Belgians and Dutch with a mixture of disgust and fascination as they smothered their chips in mayonnaise. When a waiter in an Amsterdam fast-food restaurant was about to squirt mayo all over my French-fries, I let him know in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable. "Stop man, can you not see that I am English!" Although I found all this upsetting, I was comforted by the knowledge that back on the sceptered isle, mayonnaise was only a fringe pursuit beloved by a few harmless eccentrics. I could safely look upon it as a European quirk, similar to the Albanian love of Norman Wisdom or Germany's passion for hardcore scat porn.

But now, ten year later, the UK is awash with the creamy, eggy filth. Attempting to buy a sandwich after a meeting on the Strand last week, it was next to impossible to find a baguette, roll or wrap that didn't feature mayo or a mayo hybrid. A mayo hybrid? I'm talking about such perversions as djionnaise, mustard-mayo and the like. Finally, I saw a solitary hoisin duck wrap. Surely I must be on safe ground here, I thought. I scanned the ingredients: duck, cucumber, spring onion, hoisin sauce—so far so good—but then, hang on, what's this? MAYONNAISE! An involuntary bellow of anguish escaped my lips and I left Pret a Manger hungry, bemused and slightly ashamed (due to the bellowing).

Other writers on this blog will attest to my visceral hatred of this substance. They have endured me sending back dishes in wannabe gastro-pubs after I have surreptitiously lifted the top half of my ciabatta. I peer underneath to find the unadvertised and unwanted white, viscous slime sitting atop the burger, amongst the rocket and red onion.

"But, it wasn't mentioned on the menu!" I whinge. "I'm sending it back."

"Can't you just scrape it off with your knife?" they implore me, not wanting a scene.

"No!" I shout petulantly. "I paid seven pounds for this 100% Angus beef burger in ciabatta with mixed-leaf garnish, and I will not eat one atom of that creamy muck!"

What my eating companion fails to realise is that the cook's saliva, which will inevitably replace the mayonnaise when my food returns from the kitchen, will be entirely preferable.

As Tony Blair leaves office, I implore my fellow countrymen to halt the decline in standards that has accompanied his premiership. Englishmen: SAY "NO" to MAYO!

Mayonnaise: beloved of Belgians and perverts.


Ted Hoffman said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

Like many, one hazard of my job is that I have little choice but to eat the occasional pre packed sandwich. Finding one without mayonnaise is extremely difficult, but always worth the effort. I notice now that a few suppliers (M&S and Asda) have taken to putting large NO MAYO signs on the couple of items they stock without.

I like a good quality mayonnaise, in its place, but it seems to be mainly some white muck used to moisten the staling bread.

Dunc said...

Couldnt agree more... mayoniase is the devils spunk!

Kevin Carson said...

I'm almost ashamed now to admit I like mayo. But I couldn't help remembering that scene from the mockumentary "History of White People in America" where Mom, Dad, and all the kids produced their own individual gallon jars of mayonnaise at the family cookout and accused each other of stealing from their jars.

Joshua said...

I used to think mayonaise was the worst food on the planet ... until I tried veganaise. I had this on a sandwich once, thinking that if imitation butter is vile because real butter is good, that imitation mayonaise stood a chance of being good since the real thing is vile. But it turns out the imitation food rule is sacrosanct, even for things that taste like crap to begin with. Lessons in life.

Quink said...

Try making it yourself - it's delicious.

No: the real aberration is salad cream. If, as dunc suggests, Mayo is the Devil's spunk, then salad cream is his instestinal pus.

Wally said...

This confirms my suspicion that the English people aren't really white.