My deep, unyielding revulsion to the mere sight or smell of mayonnaise is as old as my consciousness. Mayo is unequivocally gross and I will not be moved on this subject. But I don’t necessarily aim to move you either. Hear me out regardless.

I grew up in a household where my nana — born the daughter of dairy farmers in 1930 Indiana — ruled the kitchen. She used it all the time. I’m the only family member who endures this particular aversion and I’ve caught some flak for it over the years, both within and outside of my family circle. When people discover my distaste for mayo, they act like I’ve divulged a cardinal sin or denounced them as peasants.

And I won’t lie: I’m a little bougie. I prefer stone-ground Dijon to soulless yellow mustard and use a lot of fancy punctuation. But my disgust has nothing to do with you or your lifestyle, mayonnaise lovers; it stems from the sight, smell and tactile horrorshow that is this heinous emulsion of oil, egg yolk and vinegar. When I say I have a gag reflex, I’m saying I avert my gaze when I walk past its prominent home in the second aisle to avoid feeling sick.

Ironically, I enjoy the distinct ingredients. Eggs are a gift from the gods and I always add oil and vinegar to a hoagie or salads. Those close to me also point out that mayonnaise is a key ingredient in tuna fish and chicken salad. To them, I say it pains me that I can’t be the one to make some of my favorite dishes and that there is a sensitive threshold to mayo’s inclusion.

I can respect the utility of the substance — every sandwich needs a little spread, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Truth be told, I will brave a very thin spread of an herbed or spiced variety when I must. Even when I can’t see it and the sandwich tastes pretty good, though, I psychologically convince myself I am not in the same room as the stuff.

All I’m asking is: Aside from cost, why not fall in love with any of the other options? And why the shaming? I don’t think I’m better than you — I just think your beloved condiment is garbage.


  1. I need to pose this same question on The Man Who Ate the Town blog and podcast. I don’t have an aversion, however, I also don’t think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (pun very much intended). I have one friend who will eat it out of the jar with a spoon like I do peanut butter. That is too much. I have friends who will just eat mayo and tomatoes. I have friends who like mayo and banana which is to me, totally gross. You know… now I need to go write a blog post. Thanks a lot, Lauren! ;)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.