Add this to the long list of reasons why I love Charleston: Where else would people get fired up over the merest hint of an insult to their beloved local mayonnaise?
Teresa Taylor of the Post & Courier reported on a mayo-induced dust up during Bobby Flay’s recent visit to Charleston. According to her article:
“The celebrity chef and restaurateur had to call a cease-fire in the middle of his burger demonstration Saturday at the BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival. The crowd quickly took sides when a woman in the audience asked Flay about using mayonnaise and mentioned Hellmann’s.
Whoa lady, don’t go there…
Cries of protest erupted from the Duke’s aficionados. “Hold on,” said a surprised but amused Flay, “are we going to have a mayonnaise riot?””
Oh, how I wish! What a historic day that would have been! A day known to generations hence as The Great Charleston Mayonnaise Riot of 2009!
Forever after, the anniversary would be a day of celebration and festivity throughout the city, with parades, speeches, fundraising events like Celebrity Mayo Wrestling and the popular ‘Mayor-in-the-Mayo’ Dunk Tank, breathtaking rides like the thrilling Mayo Log Flume… and, of course, lots of delicious mayonnaise-infused foods!
(And, of course, a crack team of paramedics with artery-opening drugs on High Alert Status throughout the day.)
Oh, well. I would really have liked in my golden years to be able to tell the young whippersnappers that I lived through The Great Charleston Mayonnaise Riot, and that the passage of time had not diminished my mayo-spattered memories of the day.
I’d heard of Duke’s long before I moved to the South, back when I was low carb-ing my way down from an all time high of 235 lbs to my pre-sedentary weight of 185. In the very educational process of studying nutrition labels, the scales fell from my eyes and I saw that unnecessary sugar carbs were literally EVERYWHERE - even in my old pal Hellmann’s.
After some research, it appeared that Duke’s was the only credible unsweetened mayonnaise around. Unfortunately, it was only around if you were south of the Mason-Dixon line. Still, the fact that this stuff had more than a few wild-eyed votaries made me file the info away…
Fast forward a bit. My wife (a fellow mayo afficionado) and I arrive in Charleston. We go grocery shopping. We spy the eye-catching yellow & black label. We buy. We try. We die (of pleasure, that is!)
It was instantly apparent to both of us that this stuff is the best - period. A bold statement? Perhaps. But after several years in South Carolina I’m convinced there are two kinds of people in the world: ardent devotees of Duke’s mayo willing to leap out of their seats to defend it against the slightest aspersion – and those who’ve never tried it.
Still, there are many grim zealots who cling to their illusions of the supremacy of those ‘other brands’; I doubt they will remain quiescent for long. The inevitable showdown may have been averted this time, but when the day comes, we will stand on the barricades, side-by-side with our fellow Duke’s partisans. War may be Hell, mann, but we will face down the Krafty hordes.
And as they shout their misguided imprecations at us, we’ll smile confidently as we hurl spoons of Duke’s into their gaping pie-holes (mayo-holes?), transmuting their terrible wrath into tearful repentance. Or maybe we’ll just bake them a cake.
If you’re already a Duke’s fan and are far from home, or you just want to find out what the hoopla is about*, you can mail order Duke’s mayo direct from the source. (*Note: don’t mess around with anything but the full-fat original; everything else is sacrilege.)
If you’re lucky enough to have some right at hand, there are some mighty intriguing recipes that use Duke’s here.
Please join us tomorrow to read our new article about Healthy, Hearty, and Warming Winter Soup Recipes.
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