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What’s not to love about mayonnaise?

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Mayonnaise is a condiment that has been in existence and I have known about it for as far back as I can recall.

Although it has served a valuable purpose for me by being used on thousands of banana, ham, bologna, cheese, bacon lettuce and tomato, tuna fish and other kinds of sandwiches over the years, it is one of those things I just haven’t spent much time seriously thinking about.

Which brings us to Corey Friedman, my editor here at The Wilson Times Co.’s Johnstonian News.

Among Friedman’s many tasks as editor are reading, editing and making corrections and improvements to stories and articles produced both by staff reporters and other sources.

The copy he reads ranges from the really good stuff to items like you are reading right now.

I have only been working under Friedman for a short time but prior to our first face-to-face meeting a few weeks ago to discuss newspaper matters, he sent me an email to serve as an introduction.

Hopefully he would not mind my divulging some of the contents of the message describing himself.

“Floridian by birth, Tar Heel by the grace of God, was inspired to go into journalism because of Dave Barry’s humor column, stand-up comedy fan, true believer in community journalism, the future of newspapers and the First Amendment,” Friedman wrote.

While I can relate to all these I was taken aback by the last item he mentioned which was “Known far and wide for my hatred of mayonnaise.”

Don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone describe himself by using these exact words.

With such a strong and slightly uncommon statement as this coming from Friedman, maybe this item called mayonnaise needed closer scrutiny.

In order to learn why he felt this way about it, maybe I needed to do some research.

By definition, as found in Wikipedia, mayonnaise is “a thick cold sauce or dressing usually used in sandwiches and composed salads.”

“It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and acid, either vinegar or lemon juice, with many different variants and flavorings found.”

“Its color varies from near white to pale yellow and its mixture from a light cream to a thick gel.”

No one is sure how long mayonnaise has been around nor how it got its name.

According to Wikipedia, mayonnaise is mentioned by a traveler to Paris in 1804 but it is highly likely it had been around long before that.

Commercial mayonnaise sold in jars originated in Philadelphia in 1907 when Amelia Schlorer started selling her own mayonnaise recipe.

Apparently I am not the only one who likes mayonnaise, as commercial sales of the product in the United States amount to about $1.3 billion per year.

I came across additional uses of mayonnaise other than serving as the glue that holds sandwiches together.

According to “This Old House,” mayonnaise can also be used when removing tree sap, helping to remove a ring from a swollen finger, erasing crayon marks from walls, making plant leaves shine, removing fingerprints from stainless steel, silencing a squeaky door hinge, killing head lice (Wow, never thought of that one, especially when dining on a turkey sandwich slathered with mayonnaise the week after Thanksgiving), getting rid of tar stuck to your shoes or carpet inside a car, rubbing out water rings on wood surfaces or removing sticker or price tag residue.

Another website claimed it was good for cleaning piano keys and even though I’ve never cleaned piano keys, that doesn’t sound outlandish.

Just pondering, and I am paid, nay, encouraged to ponder, I assume mayonnaise might also be good for shining leather shoes, polishing furniture, as a sunscreen or to soothe skin that is already sunburned.

One of the best uses I’ve ever found for an empty mayonnaise jar, in addition to holding nails or loose screws in the garage, was for storing honeybees after catching them in the yard.

Granted, it’s been many years since I’ve done any serious honeybee-catching, but for my money, a mayonnaise jar was always perfect for the job.

Several brands of mayonnaise exist on today’s market with Hellman’s, Kraft and Duke’s leading the way, but I could not tell you the difference in the taste between them if my life depended on it.

After using several sources studying this matter for what I considered to be long enough, I was still unable to learn what it was that made Corey Friedman feel so strongly the way he does about mayonnaise.

Maybe it’s simply a matter of personal preference or maybe he and I need to have additional discussions in order to shed some light on the subject.

Regardless, this will put you on notice that if you happen to someday meet Corey Friedman, do not be alarmed if he shakes your hand and says something like “Hi I’m Corey Friedman and I hate mayonnaise.”

If this happens, just smile and tell him you understand.

Keith Barnes, a Wilson storyteller and author, is a reporter for the Johnstonian News, a Wilson Times Co. newspaper. Email him at