I tried Duke’s. I want to be hip, I want to be cool, but I just can’t like Duke’s. It was okay in egg salad, but on my tomato sandwich and on its own, it was just too bland and a bit sour. I like Kraft. Hellman’s, too. Even Blue Plate (thanks, Tracey!). But I cannot abide Duke’s. My objection to it started #mayogate (dubbed as such by BJ Lofback of Riffs, who actually prefers Kewpie) on Twitter, as the Duke’s army put out a call of support. Within 24 hours, it became clear that Duke’s is the preferred mayonnaise around these parts. It’s got a solid base in the Carolinas and has been spreading across Tennessee, strangling out the others like it's the kudzu of mayo. Perfectly logical people — and even some Yankees — have indicated that, though raised on Kraft or Hellman’s, they are now firmly Team Duke’s.
So, what’s the difference? Duke’s is the only one of the big name brands that does not add sweetener. There’s a bit more vinegar in there, too. According to commenter, Wallace Powers, it’s more like homemade. But that really depends on where home is, now doesn’t it? Authentic Dutch and French mayonnaise (which I love on my frites) has no sugar (d’oh!). Kewpie mayo contains sweet vinegar and MSG (see?). As for homemade, the first result in my Google search yields Alton Brown’s recipe for mayonnaise. And there it is: sugar. A-ha! And who’s more Southern than Alton Brown? Oh, he’s from L.A.? Okay then, Paula Deen, maybe? Dammit, no sugar in her recipe.
Nevertheless, the south is a large region, and Nashville is right smack in the middle of it, so we’re going to have to learn to get along. Luckily, each one of our favorite mayonnaises are readily available all around town. And at least we can all agree that Miracle Whip is never the right choice.
Follow #mayogate on Twitter and weigh in on this very important matter there or leave a comment with your favorite.