There are a few foodstuffs in the world that have the ability to polarize people. Something about them is so distinctive that people can’t help but have an opinion. Off the top of my head: Brussels sprouts, Spam, tuna noodle casserole, Vegemite, mayonnaise… Brussels sprouts: vile (until a friend recently cooked them a different way and I actually liked them!). Spam: requires cessation of conscious thought to eat. Tuna noodle casserole: I like it, but I’ve heard that some people are irrationally, violently opposed to it. Vegemite: also vile, and I don’t know that there’s a thing to be done to improve it.
I grew up hating mayonnaise. At lunchtime, I’d sacrifice the straw from my juice box to scrape off all the mayonnaise from my sandwich if my mom had forgotten to make mine without. It made me want to gag. Later (post-high school), I found out that she used Miracle Whip, so I decided to give real mayonnaise a try. It was… tolerable. It beat eating dry sandwiches like I had all my life.
When Mr. Gren and I moved to France in 2003, we found that grocery shopping was quite an adventure (and a post for another time). One reason being that the packaging was vastly different, sometimes making it hard to find what we were looking for. Case in point: mayonnaise. Sure, you can find it in jars, but the most popular and most prevalent brand, LeSieur, comes in a tube. Just like toothpaste. The first time we bought it may have been purely for the novelty factor. But after the first taste, we realized that we had just bought the Best Mayonnaise in the World. Fact.
I don’t know exactly what it is that makes the LeSieur mayonnaise in a tube taste so good. I know they use sunflower oil, which is virtually unheard of here in the U.S. (it’s always soybean oil here with an occasional dash of olive oil to make people feel better about buying it; thank you, government farm subsidies). Most of the rest of the ingredients are the same, so I have to think that the sunflower oil makes a significant difference. Mr. Gren and I have found a better-than-usual mayonnaise at the health food store made with safflower oil (by Hain). Sadly, it comes in a jar.
Next time we go to France, we’re stocking up on LeSieur in a tube. The TSA will think we’re big fans of dental hygiene. That’s fine, sirs, but we’re also fans of delicious flavor. You know that’s right.