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May-o, May-o!


May-o, May-o! by Eva PascoMe say may, me say may-oMayonnaise come and me wan some now! Lazy, hazy days of summer preclude packing a cooler prior to embarking on road trips or picnics.  Chicken salad, egg salad, and sandwiches with a common denominator holding it all together—mayonnaise!   A soap opera in itself spawned by the sun, “As the Mayo Turns,” behooves us to keep vigilant over the spoils. Even though mayonnaise is acidic from its vinegar content, the food fairies advise us to scoff down or discard perishable foods where temperatures in the great outdoors exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit after one hour.   


From Eva’s memoir, “You Might Just Be a Picnik”: The Sixties were a time when Picniks held their ground. Design often a function dictated by technology or lack thereof, Picniks navigated coolers made of US steel over hilly and rocky terrain as they searched for green pasture to spread out a blanket. These vintage coolers rose to the occasion with a bottle opener mounted on the side along with a drain spout. Some had a detachable tray at the bottom for keeping items dry from the melting ice chunks or cubes. Picniks roughed it in the Sixties without the amenities of freeze packs, zip lock bags, or flip top cans.”  Or variations of mayo, for that matter…


Top docs of the tongue-in-cheek Mayo Clinic suggest the origin of mayonnaise dates to 1756 when French Duke Richelieu captured Port Mayon on the Spanish  island of Minorca. Purportedly the duke’s chef was forced to substitute olive oil for cream in sauce, and the unexpectedly pleasing result was called “mahonnaise” in honor of the victory.


In the early 1900s, a German immigrant took the helm when he opened a deli in New York City.  His wife wowed the customers with salads made with her homemade mayonnaise, prompting them to inquire if they could purchase the stuff.  Before you know it, the Hellmanns packed their product in glass jars, building their own factory in 1913—Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.  


Clocking the year 1914, the Cain Mutiny took place at Boston’s Faneuil  Hall Market Place, when John E. Cain opened up his cheese distribution company and raised Cain, so to speak.  Determined to solve the problem of mayonnaise’s tendency to separate, he came up with a smooth and creamy Cains All Natural Mayonnaise for mass marketing in 1924.


The widespread story of Deli-Gate would not be complete without a mention of Kraft Mayo, introduced in 1988, as a vast improvement over its original launch of Miracle Whip in 1933.


Despite the social, cultural, and political upheavals which occurred during the Sixties, mayonnaise was virtually unscathed since its deli debut, and commercial mass production to mom-and-pop grocery stores or chain supermarkets.  May I?  In the good ‘ol summertime, in a galaxy far away from the Sixties, where ants still march to crumbs on red- and- white check tablecloths,  “The Mayo Axis” goosesteps over the spoils of  a  perishable product, tainting it beyond recognition.  Heil hitters saluting us on shelves manifesting as mayo include:   Hellmann’s - Real or Light, Mayonnaise Dressing with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Cholesterol Free  Mayonnaise, and Low Fat Mayonnaise Dressing.  Cains - All Natural, Light Mayonnaise, All Natural Omega Mayonnaise, and Fat Free Mayonnaise. Kraft - Real Mayonnaise, Sandwich Shop Mayonnaise, Mayonnaise with Olive Oil, Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with Olive Oil, Miracle Whip Original Spoonable, Light Mayonnaise, and Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise.


Me say may, me say may-oMayonnaise come and me wan some now! That’d be real mayo, the only kind we had during the Sixties. Back then, we were preoccupied with nuclear threats, space exploration, the anti-war movement, civil rights, the rise of feminism, gay rights, sexual liberation, and drug experimentation.  Perhaps during a psychedelic epiphany, some dude had a vision of taking mayo to the next level.  Perish the thought…



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