Mayonnaise is a controversial American condiment. There aren’t a lot of people who think mayo is “just okay.” Either they glob it on their favorite sandwiches (and if they’re truly demented, their salads) to the point that the two-plus other ingredients are really just a vehicle to ingest as much mayonnaise as possible, or the very thought of mayonnaise is more gag-inducing than watching the autopsy of a body recovered from a swamp, while hungover from a dozen margaritas.
Personally, I fall into the latter camp. I think plain old mayonnaise is heinous and gross. I get personally offended when someone puts paper white mayo on my cheeseburger. I can get down on some aoili, which is basically just mayo with flavoring, and (hot take here) the best condiment to dip fries into, but that flavoring has got to be strong. If I get a hint of actual mayo flavor in your restaurant’s mayonnaise-based condiment you’re going to find yourself sawdusting my large pile of vomit. A fair proposition, I know.
Whatever your feelings on mayonnaise may be one thing about it is indisputable: it’s a dynamic condiment. It (theoretically) pairs with just about any sandwich. Italian, roast beef, club, BLT, veggie, ham and cheese, French Dip –– mayo works on all of them and more.
Even a peanut butter sandwich, apparently. It’s a thing. A popular thing. Skippy and Jif peanut butter how could you?!
No. Nope. Nah. Nuh uh. Not into this. This is an abomination. A peanut butter and mayo sandwich is like making a hot sauce and sour cream burrito or a lettuce sandwich. But worse. It’s just nonsense. Why not toss some chocolate, onions, dill pickles, hot dogs, strawberries, yellow mustard, and ice cream on there too? A peanut butter and mayo sandwich is the sort of thing a normal human would only even dream of putting together if their fridge was totally barren and they were either too lazy or too poor to get real food. No one with options makes this.
With that in mind, it makes sense that the mayonnaise and peanut butter sandwich can be traced back to southern food from the Great Depression, according to Garden & Gun Magazine.
Through the hardships of the Great Depression and the lean years that followed, peanut butter and mayonnaise kept many struggling households afloat. They were also the ingredients in a sandwich that was once as popular as peanut butter and jelly in parts of the South.
Some people would call this southern recipe comfort food, which is weird because there’s so little that’s comfortable about puking yourself inside out.
Travel below the Mason-Dixon line and you are sure to find your fair share of usual sandwich combinations. Elvis liked to fill his banana sandwich with bacon, peanut butter, and pickles. But nothing was as classic as the peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich for just a small amount of mayo (Duke’s obviously, not that Miracle Whip stuff) turned it into a sour peanut butter sandwich on white bread. No PB&J sandwiches here people, everyone’s gonna eat peanut butter with mayo.
The South and Texas are rightfully revered for their delicious and ridiculously unhealthy foods. They do not, however, get nearly enough derision for the inevitable misfires that come with that sort of culinary tradition. Kool-Aid soaked pickles are a thing in the South, and they are an unholy food that looks like it was dreamt up by an 8-year-old. They also eat straight up mayonnaise sandwiches. Somewhere out there somebody probably makes a pizza with ketchup. It’s only a matter of time before some monster is freezing logs of mayo, dipping them in cornmeal batter, deep frying them, and selling them at a fair. Bleh.
This post was originally published September 25, 2018.