Strange but Good: Mayo, Mayo Not

August 17, 2015

On this episode of Strange but Good, we investigate the weird, wonderful emulsification that is mayonnaise.


Potatoes, eggs, chicken, tuna, and coleslaw can all agree: Mayonnaise is a great uniter, bringing together otherwise disparate, possibly dry ingredients into something new and pleasantly mushy (and it also serves as a simple dip for everything from French fries to crudités). We asked the Hotline and our team: How are you eating (that is, what are you using as a vehicle for) mayonnaise?

  • Spoon it onto a baked potato. HalfPint adds black olives and pepperoncinis.
  • Moisten fish or meat with it like Susan W does: Just spread a thin layer on before grilling.
  • Or marinate your fish or meat in it for super moist grilled or baked meats. Adding spices to the mayo to make a sort of wet rub is highly recommended, as is a crispy nut or breadcrumb crust.
  • "Butter" your bread with it, especially when making a grilled cheese à la Gabrielle Hamilton.
  • Sub it for butter or oil in cakesNancy says it makes for a tender crumb.
  • Doctor it with ketchup, Sriracha, lemon juice, garlic, furikake, or paprika (or all of the above). Use it as a dip for vegetables like cv, roasted chicken like Hillary Reeves, or French fries like Riddley.
  • Spread a requisite layer onto BLTs. Or burgers. Or tomato sandwiches.
  • Eat it straight from the jar, like Hillary Reeves did as a kid. (Hey, don't knock it until you try it.)

How do you eat (or not eat) mayo? We're all ears.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • marc510
  • Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
    Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


marc510 July 1, 2016
I was skeptical when I read about mayo on grilled cheese. But I tried it and loved it -- it makes such a perfect surface and is also easier to spread than butter.

Enthusiastic about mayo and skillet dishes, I tried using it on a quesadilla to promote browning of the flour tortilla. It was a failure -- the mayo separated and the flour tortilla wasn't able to absorb it, so it was a greasy mess.
Judy A. August 17, 2015
Not a fan of mayo, but I have to admit that Gabrielle Hamilton's tip about using it for grilled cheese is genius indeed.