Musings on Mayonnaise

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I found myself thinking about mayonnaise. Which is weird, because for the past few years, we’ve all but given up on mayonnaise. I try to avoid oils like canola or vegetable, and mayonnaise is almost always made with them. It hasn’t really been that big of a deal since we gave up lunch meat, and most of our previous mayonnaise consumption came via ham or turkey sandwiches.

I know that they make all sorts of alternative mayonnaise-like products, like vegenaise, or mayonnaise made mostly/fully with olive oil, but I only like one kind of mayo. Period.


If it isn’t Hellmann’s*, I don’t want it anywhere near my plate. I’d rather eat a dry hot dog any day (actually I don’t eat hot dogs either so that’s kind of a non-issue) than slather some of that disgusting slop called Miracle Whip on my bun.

While I was surfing the chasm between sleep and awake on said night, I had a thought. I probably only like Hellmann’s because that is what my mom liked and bought, and I associate that taste with how all mayo should taste. The part of me obsessed with  localganic whole foods, bucking-the-industrial-food-revolution, Occupy Big Food, etc wants to switch to mayonnaise made with oils I find more agreeable, but I can’t force myself to make the sacrifice. Sometimes a girl just wants a tuna sandwich with her childhood favorite mayo, you know?

Which means I’m probably dooming my own children to loving the soybean oil infused flavor that Hellmann’s provides. I know I could make my own (and I’m sure I will at some point just to see what it’s like) but the short storage time is really an issue. I like buying my big ol’ Costco sized tub of mayo and digging in month after month with no worries.

So, are you willing to help me figure out if my theory is correct. Do you consider one type of store bought mayonnaise to be best? Is it the same mayonnaise that your parents raised you on?

*Also known as Best Foods.

77 thoughts on “Musings on Mayonnaise

  1. You can seriously go through one of those giant tubs before hitting the expiration date? We buy the smallest jar possible and still end up throwing half of it away sometimes.

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t know, I’ve never bought one before now, haha.

    Joe Reply:

    Here in the UK, the Hellmann ‘formula’ means that once you break the seal on the jar, you have three months to consume the product. The plastic bottle version has a different expiration time-frame. Those guys in white coats know their stuff!

  2. I grew up on Miracle Whip and I remember enjoying it. When I went to college I tried real mayo and loved it. I won’t eat Miracle Whip anymore. But I’m not picky on the brand of mayo I eat. I like Best Foods but I also like Trader Joe’s mayo too. I’d like to attempt to make myself someday.

  3. This is such a funny post! Put me in the camp of liking the one my parents bought – Kraft Mayo. I’m with you on thinking Miracle Whip is icky!

  4. Oh, you have to try making your own! It will taste different, of course, but you might find you like it better knowing you made it from quality ingredients. And you can deal with the short storage life by making it in much smaller quantities… personally I’m uncomfortable with anything I can keep in my fridge for that many months without it going bad!

    Amber Reply:

    Well, you don’t HAVE to try making your own. ;)

    Jenna Reply:

    No, you’re right. I really do. I’ve never had homemade (that I can recall) and I’m guessing I’ll probably love it. I make pretty much everything else myself, so mayonnaise is a natural next step.

    Alicia Reply:

    Just don’t go making it with all olive oil like I did the first time… It was way too overwhelming, as I am also used to Best Food’s Mayo. The best result I got was from a blend of olive with another type of oil with a ratio of about 1:4. Also, make sure you season it well with salt and pepper. Oh, and the flavor is best with fresh lemon juice rather than vinegar.

    sofie Reply:

    Here’s another vote for making it yourself! Just make it in small quantities. You’ll find it delicious.

    Rachel Reply:

    I have made many, many batches of homemade mayo and only found a few to be somewhat palatable. The texture is next as – whippy – as hellmans and the taste is always really strong, even with fairly neutral oil. It took me about 4 batches to realize I hate the taste of grapeseed oil (which is supposed to be neutral) So now I get the hellmans, and use it maybe once a month max. I also pretty rarely buy lunch meat so it’s for tuna or chicken salad, and the occasional batch of homemade blue cheese dressing.

    For me, it’s part of the 20 in 80/20 – striving for 100% pushes me more towards giving up completely than allowing a few things that don’t fit in my preferred guidelines.

    Good Luck, but I say keep the hellman’s!

  5. I have no mayo preferences. My husband, who is Ukrainian, loves mayo made with olive oil. I tend to avoid substitutes like miracle whip. . and I’d like to try better-for-you fancy mayo. But my food philosophy is that if you’re gonna indulge, make it the real thing.
    As for food preferences from childhood, I only eat Tillamook Cheddar cheese.

  6. I know the reason I looove Blue Plate mayo {a southern mayo} is because my parents used it while I was growing up. I know it’s bad for you, but I love it. Even so much that when I was a kid, I would request mayo sandwiches- apparently my grand mother loved them & passed it on to me. But a good ole american cheese & mayo sandwich just brings me back to my childhood. {And puts me in the gym!}

    The same falls true for other things, too- I use Crest toothpaste because that’s what my parents always bought. And when I first moved out of the house into my own apartment, you’d better believe I put the plates in the same place that my parents had them, utensils, too! I guess you’re just used to certain things being a certain way, therefor making them your norm.

    Rachel Reply:

    I grew up eating tomato sandwiches because of my grandmother. Just squishy white bread, mayo, and sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper. I have to have one nearly everyday when tomatoes are fresh in the summer.

    Piper Reply:

    My Grandmother loved tomato and toast sandwiches–toast, tomato fresh from the garden & Miracle Whip. My dad loved them and made them for me when i was little. Every so often in the summertime, I just have to have one but use real mayo now (and I like a little salt and pepper, too) :)

    Stephanie C Reply:

    Yes! My husband thinks I am crazy for wanting to eat tomato and (scant) mayo sandwiches. I also do mayo and avo sandwiches on toasted bread. AND my mom passed on her love for cheese sandwiches… just cheddar and mustard on bread! Mmm now I want one.

    Piper Reply:

    Now I find myself wanting a toasted tomato & avocado with just a touch of mayo :p

    Rachel Reply:

    Me too! I’m so hungry for any of those sandwiches.

    Piper Reply:

    I almost bought some avocado yesterday, too :p I have no bread or tomato but I would have styled for a plain avocado :)

    Amanda Reply:

    Now I’m craving a tomato and mayo sandwich!!! They are my favorite in the summer. They HAVE to be made with a fresh beefsteak tomato straight from the garden. Preferably still warm from the sun!!! I plant Beefsteak every year specifically for tomato sandwiches and because that’s what my dad did. And we ALWAYS use Hellmann’s for mayo!

  7. I hate Miracle Whip! I never ate mayo growing up, but now I prefer Duke’s. I don’t know why and I probably couldn’t pick it out of a blind taste test, but it is what my husband always uses!

  8. Miracle Whip is AWFUL. So is veganaise! Give me Hellman’s anyday of the week — it’s not like we eat pasta salads dripping in it and slather it on everything we eat. Everyyyyy once in a while I’ll put it on a burger. And I’m eating a burger, so my health is already shot for that meal anyway ;)

  9. My favorite mayo is the kind Jimmy John’s uses (YUM)! But other than that, I actually think they all taste the same…

    Colleen Reply:

    Jimmy John’s actually uses Hellmanns exclusively! My mom is a DEVOTED Hellmann’s fan, and JJ is the only place she will get sandwiches because they use it.

  10. We mostly had Miracle Whip when I was growing up and I liked it. Now, I much prefer real mayo. I like Hellman’s but I don’t need a specific brand. I’ve not yet made my own, but I’ll give it a try sometime. I really use mayo so rarely and my husband doesn’t eat it except in ranch dressing so it doesn’t get that much attention. I’ve never tried Veganaise and I’m not sure I ever will. I am highly suspicious of vegan products that mimic non vegan foods. Like cheese. It skeeves me out a little.

    Jenna Reply:

    Agreed. I avoid products pretending to be something else.

  11. Yes, I was raised on Hellmann’s and that’s what I eat today. Miracle Whip is disgusting.

    I’m the same way with a bunch of foods, though. For NINE YEARS I made spaghetti sauce with Prego because that’s what my mom used, even though I am sure homemade sauce would be tasty and much healthier, and even though I can’t stand tomato chunks, and I would have to blend it. But finally, my husband convinced me to try Ragu… and it is good TOO! And no tomato chunks, so no cleaning a blender every time we make spaghetti!

  12. I like the original Hellmans as well. One thing I always read is the ingredients list, and the original has the least number of ingredients and the most ‘whole’ ingredients for buying something off the shelf. I actually prefer it over the olive oil one in taste. I’ve made homemade mayo before, and that actually tastes better. But I made it with canola oil instead of olive. So I don’t know that it was necessarily healthy either and a fairly short shelf life. But like someone said before, you just make what you need.

  13. I always HATED mayo growing up, but as an adult, I’m fine with it in things. I’ll still never add it to a sandwich like I do mustard, but I love egg salad or tuna salad made with mayo. I try and buy whichever mayo has the least amount of ingredients and the most real ingredients, regardless of fat content (FF mayo has to be the most awful thing ever!! NAST!). My favorite brand I’ve tried so far is Spectrum Organic Mayonnaise. We are Army, so our commissary has it for an amazing price. I feel so much better about the ingredients in that brand vs. other national brands (although those brands sometimes frequent our home).

  14. My mom only buys Miracle Whip, but I buy Hellman’s. SO, I guess I disagree with your theory…

    But, I am a label reader and want products with ingredients I know, whereas the rest of my family only wants fat-free.

  15. Miracle Whip all the way, baby! I grew up using it. I will use regular mayo if that is the only thing available but once I move out and start buying groceries on my own I will probably stick with Miracle Whip.

  16. I was a Duke’s loyalist until I started making my own. Duke’s is delicious (and probably the closest-tasting to homemade commercial mayo out there, IMO), but man…it doesn’t hold a candle to what I can whip up in the blender.

  17. I don’t like either one! I substitute yogurt or sour cream in cooking, and use ketchup or nothing on burgers and sandwiches. Some cheese is lubricating enough for me.

  18. Do you have a blender or food processor? If so, making your own is so easy and quick, and way cheaper and healthier (in terms of processed-ness, not calories or whatever) than store-bought. I’ve heard people say that store-bought salad dressing is a rip-off, but at least some of them taste better than I can make at home. Nothing beats home-made mayo!

  19. This post is hilarious! I have absolutely no mayo preference. I’ve bought the olive oil kind and it tasted fine to me, though I think it expired more quickly than the others. I rarely eat it, but when I do, I just don’t care what the brand is at all. I buy the cheapest kind :)

  20. Oh goodness! A whole post on MAYO! Oh, how I hate mayo (or anything in that category, Miracle Whip is included in this category). Even the slightest trace of it on my food make me cringe. Even a whiff of it!

    I don’t want my daughter to hate mayo as much as I do, though (it’s tough! especially at parties, etc. Mayo isn’t a condiment that’s easily removed once it’s already on something). So I make her sandwiches and food with mayo and I totally gag every time! haha!

    I can’t figure out why I hate it so much. It’s all things that are in normal foods! Oil, egg, vinegar, etc. It’s not like I don’t eat any foods that have that on them. It’s just something about the specific combination of mayo.

    Also… totally unrelated, but I can’t watch Downton Abbey and not think that you look so similar to Daisy! In a good way! You’re both adorable and every time I watch that show I feel like I’m watching you!

    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve been thinking the exact same thing (re: Daisy on DA).

  21. I looovvvve mayonnaise. I only like Best Foods though (this is the same as Hellmann’s?). Even the organic varieties are not as good.

    Light mayonnaise is disgusting; I have never eaten Miracle Whip (I had to look it up on Wikipedia to figure out what it was) but it doesn’t sound appealing.

    My parents always bought house-brand mayonnaise (Best Foods was name brand and thus too expensive). I developed my preference on my own, though there are other things I buy just because they did (409 spray, for example).

  22. I LOVE mayo. I know most people will find this repulsive, but I could eat it off the spoon. And girl, you need to come to the south and get real mayo, Duke’s. It is the bee’s knees. Duke’s is where it’s at; if you can’t make your own. I won’t even touch another mayo. Duke’s, my heart belongs to you! I was raised on Duke’s, my mother was raised on Duke’s and my kids will be, too. I’ve turned so many of my friends onto it’s awesomeness.

    I just re-read this post, I’m gonna post it anyways, but I sound mayo crazy. But, that’s how much I love it!!

    Mamimommie Reply:

    I don’t eat mayo all that often, and didn’t growing up either, but I was going to say the only one I buy is Duke’s. :o)

    All of the ingredients are real and it is almost the only mayo I will eat if I am making something with mayo. Growing up we would not buy a specific brand but just whatever wound up in the shopping cart that month (Kraft, Miracle Whip, Hellman’s, etc). As an adult that cares about what is in (most) of her food, Duke’s is most definitely the only one I buy and my mother has switched brands as well!

  23. Just make your own but I honestly love vegan mayo. I think it is really, really good.

    I love, love, love mayo and I enjoy a good miracle whip every now and then — I am sure it’s been about five years since I have had miracle whip but I remember my grandma eating it with a spoon.

  24. I grew up on Miracle Whip because my dad hates mayo and never bought it. when I went off to college and lived on my own, I bought some Hellman’s just to see what real mayo was like. I will never touch miracle whip again :p

    I usually buy whatever mayo has the least amount of strange ingredients in it so I dont really have a favorite–it just depends on what is in stock at whatever store I am at when buying mayo :p I dont eat it very often, though, so that may be why I havent tracked down a favorite!

  25. I grew up eating Duke’s…I seriously want a sandwich right now just thinking of it. So salty and delicious!

    Now that I have a family we use Hain brand Safflower Mayo. It’s pretty tasty and safflower oil has lots of health benefits.

    For special occasions like going to the beach I still buy Dukes because it’s so nostalgic:-)

  26. I grew up eating Best Food’s, but we didn’t use it very often so when I got older and married a man who HATED mayo, it never really became an issue!
    I think my fave is the Earth Balance fake mayo made with olive oil, or the Veganaise made with grapeseed oil. I’ll admit that regular Veganaise isn’t all that amazing, but we’re not a mayo household as it is so we don’t mind it once in a while.
    Our household is more into hot sauces (Sriracha and Chipotle Cholula right now), so if we don’t have the ones we like on hand.. it can get pretty crazy!
    This post was pretty funny though… because as little mayo that we eat, my mom JUST busted it out when I went over to her house to use on a sandwich… and of course it was Best Foods!

    Rachel Reply:

    Ok, shout out for sriracha sauce! We just tried it recently and now we put it on everything.

  27. I grew up eating Miracle Whip and loved it until I tried Hellmans at a relatives house. I will never go back. I do want to try my own now that we don’t really eat packaged foods anymore. Condiments have been our last hold out.

    Oh, am I the only one who has NEVER heard of putting mayo on a hot dog?? That is just weird to me, no offense intended.

  28. I LOVE mayonnaise! I grew up in Australia, eating “Praise Mayonnaise”, until we moved away when I was 10. My whole family loves mayo, so it was a big dilemma for us to find another one we all liked. I settled on Best Foods, so I’ve been eating it since then!

    I cannot STAND miracle whip. Ugh! My hubby hates mayonnaise of any kind, he can’t even sit next to me when I eat it :)

  29. I second the suggestion of making your own mayo! Seriously, it takes two minutes, tops. And once you start making your own mayo recipes (I like to add avocado) you can never go back. From your posts it seems like you’re fairly skilled in the kitchen – after making your own bread, mayonaise won’t be a challenge. Try it!

  30. haha, amusing post :) I’ve only ever had Best Foods. My hubby really loves mayo. I never thought of it as anything but a condiment to moisten my sandwiches (and I’d never consider putting it on my burger), but the hubby considers it an essential part of his sandwiches and burgers. I could take it or leave it…and I’m prone to leaving it when eating out because people tend to put waaay too much on for me.

  31. Mike and I have this kind of conversation often on our quest to eat more localganic but we’ve agreed that we may never be perfect, and some of the things that we love will just continue to be things that we love no matter where it came from. I say if you don’t like your other options, no shame in sticking with what you love-especially since it’s probably in moderation anyway.

  32. I have found that the reason miracle whip is so gross is because it is so sweet. Growing up my parents joined the health food craze that didn’t yet exist, so we always used nayanaise which is made with soy. I still love that stuff more than any other mayo. I am a skeptic of soy so I haven’t bought it in years.

  33. I use Hellman’s but grew up with Miracle Whip because it was cheap and my mom and I didn’t have much money. How that I’m up on the pay scale and she is too, we both use Hellman’s.

    I’m kind of grossed out you put it on hotdogs. I only use mayo for things like tuna, hamburgers, and lunchmeat.

  34. Another vote for homemade or Hellman’s. No Miracle Whip, no light mayo. I don’t like mayo on hot dogs or hamburgers, but love it with poultry and certain kinds of seafood (like salmon cakes, or lobster rolls, mmmm). I’m also a mayo with fries kind of gal depending on my mood, and love mixing it with pesto and sriracha sauce for the ultimate treat…seriously, try it sometime. DEE-LISH.

  35. I used to love Mayo, but my husband always hated it so I stopped by it after we got married and haven’t really missed it. I usually substitute greek yogurt or sour cream in recipes now.

  36. We use the Earth Balance brand of olive oil-based stuff. I like it much better than Vegenaise! I grew up on Miracle Whip, Hellman’s, whatever was on sale, and I love this stuff.

  37. As far as I know, Hellmans and Best Foods are the same but found different places locally. So if you end up where they don’t sell Hellmans, you can still get your fix with the Best Foods.

  38. Is this post meant to be a little big jokey? Or are you actually honestly WORRIED about this issue?

  39. I was a completely Miracle Whip girl (what my parents ate) until I got married. My husband is a Hellman’s Mayo guy all the way and I’ve “converted”. I’ve tried bringing the olive oil mayo into the house as a healthier alternative but he hates it (honestly I think it’s gross too).
    Neither of us are really into foods that have lots of mayo in them anyway. (We love spicy or cheese condiments more.) I always buy the smallest jar and it usually get thrown out half empty.

    I still have to make my tuna fish sandwiches with low-fat Miracle Whip, a dash of lemon juice, and cracked pepper or garlic powder, on lightly buttered toast with melted cheese. So good!

  40. I’m realizing that we eat a lot of mayo… that’s probably not so great.

    I enjoy Hellman’s, but we got a big tub of the Kirkland stuff at Costco and we liked it just as well, so that’s our go-to mayo. DH went through a phase of making homemade mayo, and it was delectable – the best mayo I’ve had. If you only eat small amounts of it, I’d highly recommend making it yourself. It’s not that hard and there’s tons of info about it on the internet.

    My dad loves Miracle Whip, and I grew up eating that mostly on sandwiches. I don’t think you can even call that a category/brand of mayo – it’s something else. And I don’t really like it any more.

  41. I can’t say. I absolutely abhor mayonnaise. I can’t even stand the smell; it literally makes me gag. If I cook with it I have to hold my breath when I dig it out of the jar and I buy the tiniest jar I can find at the grocery store.

  42. Best food’s (Hellman’s)all the way! I also had it growing up and still use it today. It’s the best for potato or macaroni salads.
    Good think my husband feels the same way(he uses much more mayo than me).
    I won’t buy the large size though. I think that it goes bad(starts tasting rancid) after a while. I stick with buying the smaller jars.

  43. Did I get that you put mayo on your hot dog…. or would if you ate hotdogs? My husband thinks I’m gross because I do that, I thought I might be the only one slathering Hellman’s on processed meat in a warm squishy bun. (only the New England style bun will do)

    Jenna Reply:

    Yes! I just want hot dog, bun, and mayo. Nothing else.

    Mmmmmm. I could go for one right now :)

  44. I’m not a big mayo person, but I have noticed that brand loyalty sometimes creeps up out of nowhere! When I went grocery shopping with my boyfriend for the first time to cook a meal together, we kept reaching for different brands and it was strangely hard to compromise. “Starkist? I only eat Bumblebee Tuna!”

  45. Totally understand this! We grew up on MAYO. Now … now, my brothers and their families use Miracle Whip (blech!) because that’s what my SILs brought to the marriage. It’s so odd to me!

    However, that being said, we have made the switch to Vegenaise (Grapeseed oil version), and we really like it! No, it doesn’t quite taste like mayo (regular Vegenaise does), but … we only use it for recipes like chicken salad, or make-your-own dips, and it is really tasty, and has a tanginess all its own that lends itself perfectly to those dishes.

    I highly recommend you try it out. Start with the small one, maybe make a small chicken (or egg, if you like that) salad, and see what you think. A friend of mine who was a hard-core Hellman’s girl, recently made the switch and she’s found that she likes it. ^_^

  46. I’ll eat any variation/brand, but my Mormor (Danish for “mother’s mother”) made the yummiest sandwiches with french bread, turkey, lettuce, and “salad dressing” a.k.a. Miracle Whip. They were simple and perfect. So now I love me that tangy zip!

  47. Hellmans (Best, now that I’m in SF) is clearly the only acceptable mayonnaise option. Have you seen Stephen Colbert’s bit about Miracle Whip? It’s got some language you might not appreciate but it’s hysterical.

    Jenna Reply:

    I looooove Colbert. I’ll go look it up.

    Liz Reply:

    Oh, and yes, Hellmans was what I was raised on.

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