Tomato mayonnaise

The idea of creating a sauce or dressing by blending mayonnaise with a smooth tomato preparation (tomato paste, tomato purée, or tomato ketchup) has occurred to cooks again and again over the years. To this tomato mayo base they have added any number of other ingredients: horseradish, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice (or lime juice or orange juice), cream, sour cream, pim(i)entos, chopped sweet peppers, red pepper flakes, tomato pieces, chopped pickles, chopped green olives, chopped ripe olives, chopped nuts (walnuts or others), chopped hard-boiled egg, chives, chopped onion, garlic, Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce), barbecue sauce, herbs (for instance, parsley, dill, oregano, tarragon, or cilantro), and spices (for instance, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, or turmeric).

The Heinz company has now entered this culinary arena with a proposal for yet another basic tomato mayo sauce. From the WaPo today “Heinz promotes its new ‘mayochup’ and sparks an international controversy” by Samantha Schmidt, beginning:

(#1)

It all started with a tweet about a condiment.

Heinz, the popular ketchup brand, took to Twitter Thursday with a poll about a potential product launch, a concept they billed as novel to American consumers: a pre-made combination of mayonnaise and ketchup.

They called it “mayochup.”

“Want #mayochup in stores? 500,000 votes for ‘yes’ and we’ll release it to you saucy Americans,” Heinz tweeted. While the product is already available in some countries in the Middle East, Heinz wanted to know if Americans would be receptive to a “U.S. debut,” the company said in a news release.

The votes poured forth, totaling more than 680,000 by Friday morning. So did the headlines: “’Mayochup’ is the hybrid condiment you never knew you wanted,” Insider wrote, adding “this beige-colored condiment isn’t a prank.” NBC’s “Today” show wrote that the new sauce was the solution to “the dual-delight dilemma” of choosing between mayonnaise and ketchup when making a sandwich. “That’s right, mayonnaise plus ketchup in one beautiful squeeze bottle.”

But in other corners of Twitter, the poll elicited a less jovial response.

As you might have expected from what I said above, there were baffled or enraged responses of the form, “WTF, this is supposed to be new?”

“Mayochup?” A U.S. “debut?” For many Americans, particularly those in the Latino community, the concept of combining mayonnaise and ketchup is nothing new.

In fact, the combination is as just about as ingrained in Caribbean cuisine as plantains and rice. One food blog called it “more boricua [Puerto Rican] than the coquí,” the island’s native species of small tree frog. “Puerto Ricans bathe in” it, as one Twitter user put it. Sometimes adding a touch of garlic or adobo seasoning, Puerto Ricans smother it on just about anything fried: mofongo and tostones — both made with fried plantains — yuca, french fries, and more.

But ask any Puerto Rican and there’s an important difference: It’s called “mayoketchup,” pronounced “my-oh-ketchup.”

“And we invented it ages ago,” one Puerto Rican user tweeted. “Too late Heinz.”

Some on Twitter accused Heinz of “appropriating,” “gentrifying” or even “colonizing” the beloved mayo-ketchup combination.

What started with a Twitter poll about a condiment soon became an international dispute. Who really invented the mayo-ketchup sauce, and what do you even call it?

The Puerto Rican community is far from the only group claiming ownership of the mayo-ketchup concoction. The condiment is popular across Latin America, with different names and variations based on the country. In Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela and other places it’s referred to as “salsa rosada,” or “pink sauce.” In Colombia and Venezuela, one might spoon a dollop of the condiment on an arepa, and in Costa Rica, one might eat it with a pejibaye, a peach-palm fruit.

Legend actually places the origins of the condiment in the 1920s in Argentina, where it’s often referred to as “salsa golf.” According to lore, a teenager named Luis Federico Leloir was eating prawns with friends at the Mar del Plata Golf Club in the coastal city of Mar del Plata when he decided to try an experiment, Ozy recounted. Joking around with his buddies, he mixed mayonnaise and ketchup to accompany the prawns, christening the sauce “salsa golf.”

The combination apparently took off in the 1960s, when big brands started producing it. Decades later, Leloir would gain wide fame — but not for the sauce. He ended up winning the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1970 for “his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates,” according to the Nobel website.

“If I had patented the sauce,” he reportedly once said, according to Notimérica, “I would have earned much more money than as a scientist.”

But the claims over the pink sauce don’t end there. Thousands of miles away in Utah, the mayonnaise-ketchup combination has a cult following, under a different name. “Fry sauce,” they call it.

(#2)

“Fry sauce is much more than just a condiment to the people who consider it a beloved staple of Western American comfort food,” Eater wrote in 2016.

A chef named Don Carlos Edwards introduced it to Utahns in the 1940s, serving it to customers on hamburgers and alongside fries at his barbecue joint. Eventually, his barbecue restaurant turned into the Arctic Circle restaurant chain, spreading across the West Coast and Northwest. Utahns proudly defended the mayonnaise-ketchup sauce as their own on Twitter Thursday.

But the exact origins of the beloved sauce remain unconfirmed. As Eater explained: “The condiment made a quick sweep through Central America, Eastern Europe, the Balkan countries and a select few countries in the Middle East before the comparable Thousand Island dressing popped up in a New Orleans cookbook in 1900.”

Variations of the sauce are also popular in Germany, and even Iceland. In the United Kingdom, a different version is known as “Marie Rose sauce.”

For years, a number of brands have already been selling their own bottled versions in U.S. grocery stores, including Goya and Stephen’s.

But whatever it’s called, wherever it’s consumed, many lifelong lovers of the sauce agree on one thing: It’s disgraceful to squeeze the stuff out of a bottle.

“Yeah, you have to custom mix it. Gotta have the right mayo to ketchup ratio. I don’t trust this at all.,” tweeted Nadege C. Green, a reporter for South Florida NPR station WLRN, in response to Heinz’s product.

Heinz welcomed the do-it-yourself option, telling its Twitter followers to “Show off your saucy skills, and try mixing your own” — with Heinz mayonnaise and ketchup products, of course.

In response to the “fierce debate” over the name “Mayochup,” Heinz said it will put the final name up for a vote before the U.S. launch.

“We may have different names for her (Mayo-Ketchup, Salsa Golf, Fry Sauce, Salsa Rosada), but we all pray to the same sauce,” tweeted comedian and writer Gabe Gonzalez.

Perhaps we should just settle on a less divisive name for the concoction from the movie “Step Brothers”: “fancy sauce.”

As it happens, this blog has already visited the great world of tomato mayo sauces, in the 8/13/13 posting “More raw protein”:

Russian dressing is a salad dressing invented in Nashua, New Hampshire by James E. Colburn, likely in the 1910s. (Colburn first named his experiment Russian mayonnaise, labels for which are today in the possession of collectors.) Typically piquant, it is today characteristically made of a blend of mayonnaise and ketchup complemented with such additional ingredients as horseradish, pimentos, chives and spices. (Wikipedia link)

Marie Rose sauce (known in some areas as cocktail sauce, seafood sauce, ketchyo, maychup, ketchanaise, tomayo, burger sauce, fancy sauce or dip) [note the portmanteaus] is a British condiment made from a blend of tomatoes, mayonnaise, Worchestershire sauce, lemon juice and pepper. A simpler version can be made my merely mixing tomato ketchup with mayonnaise. The sauce, as well as the meal from which its more common name, cocktail sauce, originates was invented in the 1960s by renowned British cook Fanny Cradock. It is often used with seafood, and prawns in particular. Giles Coren said: “Prawn cocktail dripping with Marie Rose sauce is, probably, most symbolic of 70s cuisine. Despite popular belief, Russian dressing, although demonstrating many of the physical and chemical properties of Marie Rose, is a completely separate condiment and should be treated as such.” [Apparently it’s all in the ingredients other than mayonnaise and ketchup.]

In the United States, a similar sauce, fry sauce, is served with french fries. And in the United States and Canada, another similar sauce called Thousand Island dressing is served. Thousand Island dressing recipe reputedly originated from the Thousand Islands in Ontario, Canada. (Wikipedia link)

Fry sauce is a regional condiment served with French fries. It is usually a simple combination of one part ketchup and two parts mayonnaise. When spices and other flavorings are added, it is similar to — but thicker and smoother than — traditional Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing. In the United States, fry sauce is commonly found in restaurants in Utah and Idaho, as well as available by mail-order. Occasionally other ingredients such as barbecue sauce are substituted for ketchup, and other variations (created independently of the Utah version) exist outside of the United States.

The Utah-based Arctic Circle restaurant chain claims to have invented fry sauce around 1948. However, a recipe for Thousand Island dressing dating from 1900 has mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles as the only ingredients, albeit in a 1:1 ratio. Arctic Circle serves fry sauce in its restaurants in the western United States. Many other fast-food restaurants and family restaurants in the region, such as Carl’s Jr, Crown Burgers, Apollo Burger, Astro Burger and Hires Big H, also offer their own versions of the sauce. Some variations include chopped pickles, chopped onions, and shredded cabbage. (Wikipedia link)

Thousand Island dressing is a salad dressing and condiment.

Its base commonly contains mayonnaise and can include olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, cream, chili sauce, tomato purée, ketchup, or Tabasco sauce.

It also typically contains finely chopped ingredients, which can include pickles, onions, bell peppers, green olives, hard-boiled egg, parsley, pimento, chives, garlic, or chopped nuts (such as walnuts or chestnuts).

Thousand Island dressing is attested in a 1900 cookbook, in a context implying that it was known by then in New Orleans.

According to The Oxford Companion of Food and Drink, “the name presumably comes from the Thousand Islands between the United States and Canada in the St. Lawrence River.” [There are elaborate stories.]

… In the 1950s, Thousand Island dressing became a standard condiment, used on sandwiches and salads alike. It is widely used in fast-food restaurants and diners in America. Thousand Island dressing is also often used as an ingredient in a Reuben sandwich in place of Russian dressing. (Wikipedia link)

The Heinz company has probably already registered the name mayochup — which sounds to me like a piece of native weaponry, akin to, say, a nunchaku / nunchuck — but I can’t see that there’s any chance they could get a patent on the stuff.

One Response to “Tomato mayonnaise”

  1. Bigmacbear Says:

    How many nuns would a nunchuck chuck if a nunchuck could chuck nuns? 🙂

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