03 June 2009

French Fries In Holland: Conversations with Pagans

Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
Jules: What?
Vincent: Mayonnaise.
Jules: Goddamn!
Vincent: I've seen 'em do it, man. They fuckin' drown 'em in that shit.

-“Pulp Fiction

Goddamn is right. Mayonnaise on French fries? WTF?

I was reminded of this…heresy…

No, no, let me try again…

I was reminded of this…quirk…

Arrgghh! Okay, again…

I was reminded of this abomina--- perfectly reasonable choice in condiments, recently, in conversation with a friend (who otherwise seemed normal). It all started with an innocent conversation about bologna sandwiches. Bologna sandwiches: safe as houses, right? Well, I thought so too. And then things took a dark turn when the conversation turned to condiments…

Me: I like mustard, or sometimes oil and vinegar…
Her: Oil and vinegar? What’s wrong with you? Ewww…
Me: Huh? Oil and vinegar is a classic! Why, what do you…
Her: Bologna sandwich with mayonnaise.
Me: (horrified grimace, hand on mouth)…
Her: What?

Now let’s be clear on this: I am not a mayo hato. Er, mayo hater. I like mayonnaise in small amounts, on things like turkey sandwiches. Or BLT’s. Or shrimp salad. Ooh, even on that really good shrimp and bacon club at the Cheesecake Factory, the flavored mayo! I’m not talking about Miracle Whip or “salad dressing” either. Believe it or not, I used to eat potted meat sandwiches with a thin schmear of Miracle Whip or whatever it was that lived in my fridge growing up. But those days are LONG gone. Erp. Making me queasy just thinking about it. I do like real mayo, the kind made by beating olive oil with egg yolks, vinegar, salt and maybe dry mustard. I just don’t eat it in large quantities or very often.

So yeah, mayo is good on some things. Just not on good cured deli meats or salumi (if I may wax Italian for a bit). Hold on, the room is spinning….

Whew, I’m back. It just doesn’t seem right. More than once I have ordered an Italian hoagie with everything, thinking that surely they must know what they are doing, only to get the sandwich, take a bite, and have mayonnaise squirt out all over the place and ruin perfectly good salami or capicolla or prosciutto. Makes me squirm. Along those lines, never order an Italian cold cut with everything in place with a name like Kelli’s Deli. Or Yung’s Subs and Chinese Carryout. Bad move. Almost guarantees mayo, or even scrambled eggs. But that’s another story.

So how does that relate to the bologna with mayo heresy? Well, bologna is one of the quintessential comfort foods from childhood. And the doctrine was: white bread, yellow mustard, pink bologna. A perfect Trinity handed down by the High Priestess of Domesticity, All Things Love…I speak, of course, of MOM. And mom made the best bologna sandwiches, ever.

So when I grew up (sort of) and started experimenting (“don’t worry, dear, it’s normal, all kids have those urges”), I tried other things on my bologna sandwiches. Oil and vinegar. Brown mustard. Spicy brown mustard. It was different from the Mom-made sandwiches, but similar enough to be in the same ballpark. I still enjoy a good spicy mustard on my bologna (that’s what she said, hehheh; Shut up, Beavis!) because it hits the spot. And I don’t feel like a sinner when I eat it. But mayonnaise? Get thee behind me, Stan!* My tongue balks, my stomach howls, I gnash my teeth**. Bologna and mayo, it’s just not meant to be.

In all fairness to the person I was debating theology, er, discussing condiments with, she did patiently explain to me why mayo for her bologna sandwiches. It kinda made sense, it’s what mom used to make***, grew up with it and all that. I finally saw the light, sort of.

Mayo versus mustard: it’s sort of like the difference between the Lutheran Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, different pages, same book. So we reached a delicate equilibrium and decided to each his or her own.

After all, we both know which is the One True Church, don’t we? (wink) Come, come to the light…although I may just try that mayo on the fries thing...

*That’s right, Stan, not Satan. Stan was the counter man at deli that shall remain nameless. Nice guy, but lawdy, man, ease up on the frickin’ mayo!
**Happens a lot when I’m hungry. Like right now.
***Even if mom was a heretic, still had mouths to feed. So that’s cool.


  1. I believe I've mentioned on my blog before that my mother had atrocious eating habits that she passed down to her offspring, but I'm guessing I shouldn't tell you about how I defile my bologna sandwiches with Miracle Whip, sweet pickle relish and processed American cheese slices.

  2. OK, I can eat a bologna sandwich with either mustard or mayo— it doesn't bother me. But, I must admit that I love Ranch Dressing on my french fries. I got the habit in high-school when a friend suggested that I have dressing with my fries instead of ketchup. But if I don't have ranch on hand, I am like the Dutch and eat them with mayo.

  3. I'm a mayo girl - no mustard EVA.

    Some powerful force drew me here this morning...luring me in,...whispering "gotoirishgumbo" "gotoirishgumbo"...It confused me until I read the Beavis and Butthead reference. I needed that.

  4. I can't even get to the end of your post today!!! And I like mayonnaise. If I don't think about it too hard. This'll send you over the edge...it's a lubricant. A sandwich lubricant. Gross. I have to go to my happy place now and think about flowers and puppies...

  5. Bologna and mayo is trés American. I eat it with no condiment [Oh but I blasheme!]

  6. Mustard, or horseradish girl here!

    Your story just stirred up so many funny memories and conversations! Thanks for being so witty and palate friendly...they should jar you up, and we would pay top dollar!

  7. Dude, Fried Bologna on a hardroll with mustard...outta this world....

    Peace - Rene

  8. Mayo? white bread? cow-lip bologna? *sheesh!*

    Mayo's okay, eh! maybe on a salad or something, ya know . . .egg salad, potato salad, macaroni salad . . . french fries-n-mayo? tried, they're okay, kinda if no ketchup's around.

    Mayo on meat? aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhh!

    hey but, to each his own. that's why G-D made the rainbow, so each person could pick his favorite color.

    do yerself a favor, when ya visit the Big Apple,
    if'n ya go to a Deli {that's Deli with a capital "D", DO NOT, ....repeat . . .DO NOT ask for Mayonaisse on ANY sandwhich. fer real!

    personal favorite? Hot Pastrami {not trimmed, greasy} on Rye, brown mustard. the end. wash it down with a brewski. COLD! and plenty o' pickles on the side.

    {btw, Not The Rockefellers points out a good exception for bologna, fried on a hard roll w/mustard}

    hey, thanks for the post,
    wuz fun! :-)


  9. I have to say I am a mayo girl. Of course my hips can attest to that as well.

  10. Mayo on fries is excellent. I never would have tried it in America but when that's what comes with your fries in Europe, you try it. And now I can't go back to catsup.

  11. Ok...IG...got to say this...I AM a Mayo girl!!! LOL...
    And a Miracle Whip girl...and Yellow Mustard.

    On bologna, mayo/miracle whip, mustard and a slice of cheese/tomato/lettuce...YUMMMY!!!

    (but since I don't/won't eat bologna any longer in my life, it just don't count..hehehe)

    With my fries: ketchup AND mayo. Kraft Mayo pls! Not a bit of Dutch in me! Started eating fries like that back when I was working at Wendy's when I was 18..(OH so long ago!!! lol)

    Subway: 6 inch Roast Beef..with every veggie, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar/oil!! AWESOME!!!

    Oh...my arteries are calling!!! hahahaha

  12. the BEST chocolate cake i ever had was made with a small amount of MAYO. i said it. MAYONAISE. and it was moist and tasted nothing of a sandwich.

    also? homeade pimento cheese?

    velveeta and mayo. deelish.

    big baby.

  13. Other Half packed sandwhiches on what he thought was our first date. Neither of the sandwhiches had appropriate condiments. Mayo was almost a deal breaker. Hate it, and I may have scrolled through the more descriptive phrases in your lovely post. :-D

  14. I'm right there with ya. mayo is good in small doses on certain kinds of sandwiches, and definitely NOT on fries or Italian subs!

  15. Have to say that I LOVE how I spelled sandwich incorrectly not once, but twice. That's what mayo does to me. ack.


  16. I can't stomach bologna. At all.

    Fries with mayo and ketchup, on the other hand...

    Fancy sauce! (from Step Brothers)

  17. Mayo is the devil's, well, you know. Ick.

  18. Guess what I eat on my sandwiches? Mayo. And sometimes, if at Mom's house, Miracle Whip. Which was Grammy's "go to" condiment. But my favorite is Durkee sandwich sauce... Are you familiar? Or is that just a regional thing for us in fly-over territory?


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...