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Tomato Sandwich Time

Posted 7/25/2017 11:18am by Judy Lessler.

It is tomato sandwich time. The picture is a tomato sandwich with turkey bacon. It just needs the last preparation step. It has to be smashed. After taking the photo, I pressed down hard on one side, turned it over, and pressed hard on the other. This causes the juices to penetrate the bread, and if you do a good job, you may need a bib to eat it.   


Here’s the scoop on tomato sandwiches: The classic tomato sandwich is simply tomato and mayonnaise on white bread. In assessing quality, people could debate the variety of tomato, the type of bread, and the appropriateness of additives, such as basil, dill, or a cucumber. These ingredients do not inspire much passion at least not the passion the type of mayonnaise does. Should you use Hellman’s or Duke’s?     

In the mid-twentieth century when I was growing up, some people were known to use Miracle Whip instead of mayo. This has since been recognized as a colossal mistake, and since the dawning of the twenty-first century, it is rare to find a Miracle Whip proponent. Curiously, Miracle Whip has become very popular in Germany, which a strange development given that Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world, and you would expect that Germans, in general, would be upholding high standards of decorum and manners as benefits their new leadership status. I learned about the popularity of Miracle Whip in Germany from Wikipedia, and, upon consideration, think it may be OK. Wiki did not mention how the Germans were eating Miracle Whip.  Perhaps it is not on tomato sandwiches and does not represent a desecration of culinary standards.  

You do not need to search far to find articles and “research” on the Duke’s versus Hellman’s conflict. In 2015, Our State magazine published an article by Susan Strafford Kelly called Mayo Mutiny about this conflict. Kelly reports interest in resolving this conflict is now so widespread and intense that people are conducting their own blind studies and posting the results on social media. She also noted a general preference for Duke’s mayonnaise. 

Only 18 months later, Kathleen Purvis reported in the Charlotte Observer on the results of a small experiment conducted by the Piedmont Culinary Guild with chefs and farmer. This created an uproar among Duke’s proponents because Hellmann’s won.  

I worked for thirty-years as a research statistician. I can confidently state that these small scale experiments are flawed in terms of sample size, randomness, and control of extraneous variables. Therefore, just go with your own preferences, but remember to keep the Duke’s on hand to make a sandwich for your visiting aunt.    

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