Saturday, April 14, 2012

You want mayo or mustard on that burger?

It's not hard to fall off the diet wagon. Just when I lose a couple of lbs., I find some excuse for gaining them back. This week, it was those full breakfasts for my English guests, the generous helping of creamy blue cheese dressing I ate for lunch while feeling righteous about having salad and not a burger, that twice-baked potato last night, and maybe an extra glass of wine when chores or good company kept me up late.
One of my downfalls is mayonnaise, though I use the low fat made with olive oil--someone suggested I am fooling myself, but if so, it makes me feel better. On the Guppes (subgroup of Sisters in Crime) listserv there's been a flurry of messages about mayo. Some people range from gentle dislike to active disdain, and I have friends like that, including one daughter who does not eat those white things--mayo, cream cheese, goat cheese, feta, sour cream. To my mind, she's missing half the world's good stuff--but maybe that's why I'm constantly trying to diet.
Then there are the people in my camp who love it. You'd be surprised at how many people artichokes with mayonnaise--both in parts of the United States and much of Europe. Europeans often serve mayo with fries--one of the Brit boys confirmed that saying "We eat it with chips." Then, with a glance at me, "Uh, fries." One person wrote that she likes to dip fries in vinegar and since she tried that, she's discovered all sorts of vinegars (vinegar plays a big role in Slavic cooking). Confirmed mayo lover that I am, I can't see either of these--hollandaise with artichokes and ketchup with fries.
Some people seemed to think that heavy use of mayo is a Midwestern custom, and it seems to me that more people in Texas want mustard and ketchup on their burgers. I sometimes have to ask for mayo--must be my Midwestern roots. I don't have a recipe for it, but I've heard a lot about chocolate cake made with mayo--keeps it moist. Bet it's on the Web.
Europeans on the other hand are disdainful of our use of what I call salad or yellow mustard as opposed to a good Dijon or Bavarian. On the other hand, my youngest daughter won't eat any other kind of mustard! Go figure.
I think this all started because someone asked an author from Switzerland (I think it was) about mayo and loose meat. The latter I've never heard of, but there's always a Guppy with an answer. One wrote that it is ground beef cooked with onions to a crumble. It's eaten on white bread with mayo. That actually sounds good to me, but not white bread unless it was a good sourdough. And maybe it came from the old Maid Rite chain of restaurants.
See why I can't lose wieght? It's ot that I'm obsessed with consumption of food but I am fascinated by the various things you can do with it, flavors you can combine.
Which brings me back to my Brit guests--they were surprised I served jam for the biscuits with a bacon-and-egg breakfast, because they don't mix savory and sweet. Same thing the next morning when I served oatmeal (porridge) with sugar and also provided sausage and bacon. Sweet and savory again. I forgot to tell them about the ever-expanding uses of bacon, in ice cream for instance, or dipped in chocolate. I'm afraid I draw the line there.

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