Mayo Wars

You don’t see many prestigious journalism prizes awarded for in-depth investigations about mayonnaise, but that’s what I got.

Well, sort of. Ever since I wrote a column about mayonnaise, my mailbox has been brimming with product samples from various mayonnaise companies. Which is almost the same thing as a Pulitzer.

Big-mayonnaise has been sending me parcels of congealed egg-yolks by the boxful. The neighbors are starting to think I’m involved in a highly secretive mayonnaise ring.

It all started a week ago when a few of my family members and I conducted a highly officialized mayonnaise taste test, wherein we sampled multiple brands. Then I wrote a column about it.

Initially, I got a lot of feedback from readers regarding our research, primarily from readers who didn’t agree with the low scores we gave to their favorite brands. I inadvertently discovered, through these emails, that Americans are extremely loyal to their mayo.

Letters such as this one from an elderly reader in West Virginia named Emma Royd: “Hey, you lowdown eggsucking son of a butcher, why don’t you shove that Miracle Whip jar up your earhole?”

And that was one of the friendlier emails.

I was also informed that I upset many people because I didn’t include their cherished mayonnaise brands in my column. Others accused me of rigging the contest. One man from Philadelphia (named Jacques Strap) suggested that I had been accepting indecent favors from the Duke’s corporation in exchange for writing a pro-Duke’s column.

Some people, it turns out, were DEEPLY offended because their favorite mayonnaise wasn’t listed. These people—you can just tell—lead very rich, gratifying lives.

The truth is, I tasted 73 brands of mayonnaise, but I couldn’t list them all in the column unless I were to quit my job and devote all my time to eating jars of cholesterol.

The most labor-intensive part of the whole taste-test ordeal was visiting all the grocery stores in our local area to purchase the mayonnaise. My cousin, Ed Lee, and I visited every supermarket in town. You should have seen the looks from the cashiers when we rolled down the aisle with a buggy full of mayonnaise jars.

CASHIER (staring at our cart): Why are you buying so much mayonnaise?

ME: We are doing a taste test.

CASHIER (after a very long pause): I don’t get it.

Some of the high-quality brands that didn’t make it into the column were brands such as Bama mayonnaise.

The Bama Company is famous for manufacturing jams, jellies, peanut butter, and many other jars traditionally used for storing nuts and bolts.

Bama mayonnaise is a favorite in my household. So, of course, we tasted it, and the mayonnaise received a very high rating. The reason, however, I didn’t include Bama mayo in my literary exposé is because Bama mayo is mostly a Southeastern thing.

I didn’t know people outside Alabama even knew this mayo existed. So writing about Bama mayonnaise seemed slightly unfair. Kind of like playing favorites. Like when your Little League coach’s son, Wilbur, got to play first base even though Wilbur couldn’t catch a cold in a pulmonary hospital.

I discovered, thanks to many emails, that I was wrong. “Bama mayonnaise is NOT ONLY available for purchase in Alabama,” one reader wrote, “you can also buy it in Huntsville.”

Another brand that should have been included, but wasn’t, was Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise.

Oh, boy. I received lots of messages and emails about this brand. Such as one email from a reader in Nebraska named Ollie Tabooger: “Why didn’t you include Hellmann’s Original in your article, you suckegg mule?” his letter began.

And then there was the message from Ima Weiner in Cleveland, Ohio: “I am so disgusted with you for not including Hellmann’s in your taste test, you’re a big, fat, hairy cheater.”

So allow me to explain. We tasted MANY Hellmann’s products. Even the weird ones, such as Hellman’s Vegan Dressing & Spread, Garlic Aioli Dip and Spread, Organic Spicy Chipotle Mayonnaise, Canola Oil Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise Dressing, Hellmann’s Corn Liquor, etc.

Without being critical, Hellmann’s scored poorly on our taste test because, as the label states, they use real sugar. I am not criticizing the use of sugar in mayonnaise. And neither am I saying that the only people who put sugar in mayonnaise are communists who don’t love the Lord. You will never catch me putting those words in print.

I am merely saying, for the record, sincerely, that my crack tasting team of professionals preferred Duke’s to other brands.

I only hope the Pulitzer committee agrees.


  1. Debbie - June 29, 2023 9:12 am

    Bama mayonnaise?

    • Wayne - July 6, 2023 4:27 pm

      The best mayonnaise brands BY LAW, Hellmans, Heinz, Dukes and Kraft, you can’t disagree OR ELSE!!🤣

  2. stephen e acree - June 29, 2023 11:35 am
    we also ate LOTS of bama jelly growing up in FLa.

  3. Goober Fife - June 29, 2023 1:18 pm

    Looks like readers took Sean to the Woodshed on this one!….

  4. Linda G Howell - June 29, 2023 2:49 pm

    I didn’t realize other mayos existed – Duke’s rules!

  5. Dee Thompson - June 29, 2023 2:56 pm

    Duke’s is the favorite in our house. When I was 8 and we moved to Tennessee we couldn’t find Duke’s and my mom was really upset. We had to switch to Hellmans. Sad day. Dad was upset because there was no decent barbeque in Knoxville then. Thank God for progress!

  6. Lin - June 29, 2023 3:29 pm

    My Mom always used Miracle Whip so that is what I use, but both of our daughters have gone to the other side with Duke’s because of their HUSBANDS!

  7. Sharon - June 29, 2023 5:17 pm

    Come to Germany and try to figure out mayo. I went to heaven when I found Hellmann’s here. No joke.

  8. pattymack43 - June 29, 2023 5:41 pm

    You’re a brave man, Sean Dietrich!!! Blessings for your heroic efforts!!😊

  9. Jim Thompson - June 29, 2023 7:07 pm

    Wonder what kind of mayo Andy Griffith used in Mayberry?
    What I want to know is what kind people used on mayonnaise sandwiches when they were kids?
    For me growing up in Texas it was just plain old hellmans on mrs bairds white bread. None of those hippie dippy flavors.

  10. JSM - July 1, 2023 11:15 pm

    So just for the record, I did my own test today after reading your review. Bama has sugar listed on the ingredients. We tried 4 brands–Blue Plate, Bama, Dukes, and Hellmans (these were the 4 premium brands available in Nashville at our normal store). I preferred Blue plate first, Hellmans second. My wife preferred Hellmans first, Blue Plate second. I will say that all 4 “premium” mayos tasted good and all had their respective merits. I will be using all 4 brands until they are gone and then buy Blue plate when available.

  11. Joe - July 5, 2023 3:46 pm

    I never saw the brand Cains but that’s up north and is exactly like dukes

  12. Beto Cumming - July 6, 2023 11:12 pm



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