500-WORD RANT #33

Mayo Culpa! Mayo Culpa!

Don’t blame the French for your gastronomic monstrosity

Lon Shapiro
Published in
3 min readJan 12
Oh, the off white glory! Miracle Whip © Denzil Green / Photo courtesy of Gratisography

If you haven’t figured it out yet, mayo — not Mayonnaise — is symbolic of everything wrong with America.

But first, a little history about the real deal.

Various hypotheses surround the origin of Mayonnaise. But most agree the geographical origin of the sauce was Mahón, located in Menorca, Spain.

According to one legend, a chef invented the sauce, using only eggs and oil, to celebrate the 1756 French victory over the British at the Port of Mahon.

In France, an early 19th-century foodie wrote that it came from the city of Bayonne because Port Mahon was not known for good food.

The first celebrity chef declared the name was a derivative of magnonaise, from the verb manger, or manier.

Other ideas come from derivations of the Old French for egg yolk (moyeu), or mailler, meaning “to beat.”

Meanwhile, the Spanish claim the origin was salsa mahonesa.

Did the French steal it? Probably. They stole pomme frites from the Belgians and croissants from Austria.

But the real question is who did the Spanish steal it from?

Aioli, made from garlic and olive oil, goes back to ancient Rome. Add egg yolks and you have modern aioli or an alternative Mayonnaise recipe.

It’s all a big Mediterranean melting pot.

I was blind but now I taste

As a kid, I never liked mayo, except when my dad made me tuna salad sandwiches (a lifelong, happy memory).

What opened up my eyes was when I met my future wife in France. We stayed with her family and her father was a wonderful cook. One day, he prepared a meal with a light yellow sauce.

It was fantastic and I asked him, qu’est-ce que c’est?

He replied mayonnaise, and I couldn’t believe it after only knowing that fatty white mess my whole life.



Lon Shapiro

High quality creative & design https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro athlete & high quality performance coach. Teach the world one high quality joke at a time