Mayo On Grilled Cheese (And Other Controversial Food Opinions)

Listen, Eaters-of-Grilled-Cheese, put some fucking mayo on the outside of the bread before you pop it in the pan. Yes, instead of butter. Sure, you can still put butter in the pan if you really want. Yes, you heard me right. Mayo. Yes, that mayo, the mayo you know and love, not some different mayo. The mayo you think is gross. Yes, it’ll make your grilled cheese sandwich better. No, I have not lost my mind. I mean, maybe I have, but that’s more the fault of —

*gestures broadly*

— than anything related to food.

Okay, listen. Listen. Mayo isn’t some industrial food product. If you buy Duke’s mayonnaise (and you should), it contains the following ingredients:

Soybean oil, eggs, water, distilled and cider vinegar, salt, oleoresin paprika, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA.

That last one sounds weird, but it’s safe. Admittedly, “natural flavors” is a little vague, and could mean anything from “oregano” to “turns out, if you milk the sphincter of a corn-fed raccoon’s butthole, it produces a sphinctorial unguent that tastes a lot like butterscotch.” Hopefully in this case it’s more the former and less the latter.

The key thing here is that mayo is egg, fat, and acid.

When you bake, ever use an egg wash? Makes that baked good all nice and toasty-roasty brown, yeah? Same idea here. It evenly browns the outside of the grilled cheese while simultaneously lubing the pan (mayo is really just food lube, after all) and also giving you a little of that acid tang.

And by the way, also put some mustard on the grilled cheese.

Inside, not out. Mayo: outside. Mustard: inside.

It’s good. Just trust me. Dijon is good, honey mustard is fine, but honestly, so is straight-up YELLA MUSTARD. And while we’re here talking about mustard, that whole thing that In-N-Out does with cooking the patties in mustard? Yeah, that’s real tasty. Do that, too.

Let’s see, what are some other controversial food opinions I have?

You’ve seen The Sandwich. (Note: should be renamed to Chnurk Mandog to avoid any kind of cultural appropriation, my bad, oops, sorry. Not my intent!)

Cheesesteaks are the fake Philly sandwich — the real sandwich is roast pork and rabe.

Fish sauce goes in damn near everything. Sometimes Asian-style. Other times, Worcestershire. And yes, Worcestershire is fish sauce. Some people seem surprised by that? It’s umami, frandos.

“Clean” food is not a thing, that’s some Goop shit, don’t fall for it.

I do not believe a paleo or keto diet is necessarily healthy. If you like it, do it up, and I’m glad you found something that works for you. I do not believe science backs up most claims about such diets, unless you have specific conditions like epilepsy. Honestly, most diet trends are weird, and your best bet is simply the classic one: decrease calories, increase how much you move your body. But, YMMV.

I think being a vegetarian or vegan is great, both for flavor and for ethical betterment of our world. I also think a lot of vegetarians I know around these parts don’t eat enough actual fruits and vegetables, which is weird to say, but there you go. Regardless, I’ve cut meat consumption, though I won’t ever be able to cut it out entirely, because I’m a monster. (Though, I had the Impossible Burger, and holy shit. And that Just scrambled egg substitute was a capable imitation of scramby-eggs.)

We should be eating more bugs. Bugs are good, actually. To eat. Also for the world.

Pineapple pizza is fine. Relax.

And no, you probably can’t eat a pineapple the way that viral video wants you to.

Chicago deep dish pizza is delicious, also not pizza, but really just the baby of that time an inflatable mattress fucked a pan of lasagna. Still: delicious.

Kale is fine, but really needs the kale boiled out of it. Great in soup.

Don’t order steak at a restaurant. Nine times out of ten, you can do that at home.

You shouldn’t put butter on your pancakes / waffles / French toasts — and hold on, before you start yelling — because putting cold butter on the hot breakfast confection (which to be clear is really just cake) will cool it down unnecessarily. Also, you use too much syrup. I have a single fix for both of these, which is this: melt the butter you would normally use on your breakfast cake in a glass measuring cup, then add in some syrup. Real maple, if you have it. Warm that up, too, then whisk it together and serve over the breakfast cake. The fat carries flavor, which means it extends the sugar taste of the syrup like an extra warranty from Flavortown oh god I’m Guy Fieriing this I’m sorry. But still, the point stands: use a little more butter, melt it into the syrup, and you get butter flavor liquified on everything, and you can use less of the sugar stuff.

What else, what else.

Spam is good. Shut up, it is. Fried is best. And Spam musubi? Hnngh.

Your detestation of American Cheese is maybe misplaced. Yes, some of it is plasticky and creepy, but not all of it. Also it’s often the best thing to melt on a burger. I know, it’s “cheese product” and not cheese but you probably believe a buncha bullshit about this, like it’s got pieces of tire in it or antifreeze or something. Seriously, here is a very good unpacking of what American cheese actually is, and the things it is good for. And if you want an amazing melty American cheese, Cooper Cheese is your new favorite, trust me. Just don’t throw it at your cats or babies.

Your detestation of mayo might be misplaced, too. It’s fine not to like it, but to be repulsed by it — okay, sure, I blame the 1950s where American households wanted “fancy food” to go with newfound ideas of suburban wealth but didn’t know how to make it, so they just tried to fancify a bunch of stuff: “It’s Jell-O with bananas, hot dogs, and a sweetened mayo topping, all served out of crystal goblets.” But honestly, it’s good. It’s versatile. As I said, it makes for most excellent food lube. Also sometimes people make yucky faces when they see cake recipes that call for mayo, but seriously, it totally works, and helps make a very moist cake. (“Moist” is a word that has also gotten a bad wrap. DEFENDERS OF MOISTNESS, COME TOGeaaaaoh okay I see it, that is a little icky. But mayo in cake is not icky. Mayo on cake is probably nasty, though. So moist.)

Here then is maybe my most controversial food statement: a lot of the things you really hate are classist. And I’ve fallen into this trap, too, trust me, I’m no pure spirit. I’ve fallen prey to the organic hipster non-GMO thing too where it’s like, NO NO I AM AUTHENTIC AND ONLY EAT REAL [insert food product here]. Yes, some things on your grocery shelves contain a wealth of weird ingredients, half of which are corn. But many are also the products of really genius food science, and also are the things that, I dunno, low- or middle-class people can afford to eat. Sure, okay, fast food ain’t great, but consider the great many food deserts (not “desserts”) that exist across the country. Like what you like, absolutely. Dislike what you dislike, yes. Just try to recognize when your biases against “low-class” things also transfer over to people, and be aware how it looks to others when you shit on what are honestly common ingredients and foods. I’m sure I’ve said things in this very post that are privileged or classist, so again, I’m guilty as you are.

So endeth the lecture.

And so endeth my controversial food post.

I’ve probably offended *looks out over the crowd* all of you. And that’s okay! Food is personal. Food is home. And at the end of the day, we should like what we like and don’t like what we don’t like. Huzzah and hooray. Buy my books or I die. Moistly.