What is a BLT without a smear of mayo? What is potato salad without a healthy scoop of this thick and creamy sauce? What are French fries without a side of this perfect condiment? It's safe to say that eating at large would not be the same without mayo — especially one special mayo in particular.
I'm talking about Duke's, of course. As any Southerner will tell you, Duke's is the best mayonnaise.
A Brief History of Duke's Mayonnaise
The story of Duke's begins in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1917, Eugenia Duke began selling sandwiches, slathered with her homemade mayo, to soldiers at nearby Fort Sevier. Her sandwiches became so popular that, within a few years, she was selling them at drugstores, grocery stores, and a hotel in downtown Greenville. But it's clear the real star was her mayo, which she started bottling for distribution.
And the rest, as they say, is history: In 1929, the C.F. Sauer family of Richmond, Virginia, purchased the recipe and product that today has become a regional staple in the southeastern United States.
What Makes Duke's So Good?
These days, you can find all different kinds of mayonnaise: Mayonnaise with different oils, like avocado, sunflower, safflower; mayonnaise with different flavor profiles, like Sriracha, chipotle, and barbecue mayo; you can even find vegan mayonnaise!
But Duke's will always be number one for one simple reason — and that's taste. It's creamy, tangy, and just the right amount of sweet. It tastes good on practically everything.
How to Enjoy Duke's Mayonnaise
I love Duke's slathered on fried bologna, that's slightly burnt around the edges from frying in my cast iron skillet that's been passed down two generations from my maternal grandmother.
I love Duke's with heirloom tomato slices on regular white bread during the sultry and humid Southern summer months.
I love Duke's as a base for fresh, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing to be drizzled over a wedge salad with plenty of crispy, peppery bacon and hunks of blue cheese.
And let's not forget that the plethora of barbecue side dishes Duke's helps to dazzle, like potato salad with chunks of russet or Yukon Gold taters, sweet relish, and yellow mustard, or tangy, vinegary coleslaw.
Whenever I grocery shop, I grab no less than four jars of Duke's Mayonnaise (because there's no greater sorrow than being fresh out of mayo when you need it most). But don't just take my word for it. Try it for yourself. Maybe you, too, will see the Duke's mayonnaise light.