Dietribes: Don't Hold the Mayo, I Relish It!

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• The origins of the word mayonnaise may be derived from mahonnaise, for the Spanish port of Mahon, where the French defeated the British in a 1756 naval battle. Others say it’s from the French verb manier, to mix or blend, or from the Old French moyeu (egg yolk). Regardless, it seems the French are always involved.

• Mayonnaise typically contains oil, egg yolk and vinegar (or lemon juice). Other ingredients may include mustard, olive oil, herbs, spices and finely chopped pickles. It's also the base of plenty of other dips and spreads, such as Fry Sauce, Ranch dressing, Tartar sauce and Thousand Island dressing.

• So what's the difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip? Well, Mental_Floss has actually covered it before! (Bonus fact I just learned about Grey Poupon: poupon means “newborn baby.” Gross!)

• Here it comes to save the daaay: Scientists at Rice University discovered that a little-understood tensile force, which was previously thought to be an oddity found only in the types of plastics used to make bulletproof vests, occurs in everyday emulsions like mayonnaise and salad dressing.

• Mayonnaise is quite handy for a number of things, including removing white ring stains from wood as well as a homemade moisturizing hair treatment (Has anyone tried these? I am interested to know if they really work!).

• Mayonnaise is also an environmental warrior - it has been used to clean sea turtles from oil spills. "Mayonnaise actually helps break down the oil for easier removal around the mouth and eyes."

• Of course, almost every Dietribe has a link to bacon nowadays, and sure enough, there's Baconnaise, which started with a customer request to make “spreadable bacon, namely mayonnaise."

• On the other end of the spectrum, there's also Vegenaise which is egg-free. Even if you aren't vegan (which I am not), I can confirm that this stuff is utterly delicious! Gwyneth Paltrow also loves it, saying it is her "most often-used and beloved ingredient."

• Don't think about this one too long, or your stomach may start to feel queasy … Oleg Zhornitiskiy holds a food eating record for eating mayonnaise that's set at consuming four 32-ounce bowls of mayonnaise in 8 minutes. If there are photographs or videos, I do not want to know about them.

• Speaking of extreme mayonnaise related things, in 2010, police arrested an Idaho woman for pouring mayonnaise into library drop boxes (and other "condiment-related crimes"). There's no explanation as to her motive, though. I'll leave the speculation and possible puns up to you guys …

• Finally, for those who have always wondered: the Mayo Clinic developed gradually from the medical practice of a pioneer doctor, Dr. William Worrall Mayo, who settled in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1863.

• I love mayo. And I will never, ever pronounce it properly (it is man-aise to me). I really do love Vegenaise and use it on sandwiches, as a dip, as a base, as everything! What about you, Flossers? Do you love mayo? And how do you use it?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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May 16, 2012 - 8:15am
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