Friday, October 07, 2011

To Hell, Mann and Back!

This is half the size of ours.
I am pleased to report that the Humpy Dumpty 2 quart squat jar of Hellman's Mayonnaise that I bought at Costco in Morelia is diminishing. Yesterday I was able to transfer the remaining contents to a smaller, more svelte jar. I will be even more pleased to reach the end of it.

I don't know what I must have been thinking when I bought it. Maybe it was that the smaller, compact jars of 3 shrink wrapped McCormick's (Mexico) mayo just didn't last long enough.

Well, the Hellman's sure lasts. It also takes up more than its share of space in the fridge. It is thick, bland, custard-like and unctuous. Mexican mayo is more like a tangier, spreadable emulsion.

I believe that a realistic test of one's adaptability to life here SOB is the Expat Mayo Test. Can you live here and be happy without your favorite brand of NOB mayo? I can. I have come to prefer McCormick's (Mexico) Mayonesa con jugo de limón because it is not only readily available, it is less unctuous than Hellman's. It tastes fine. It also takes up less space in our compact fridge. The emptied and washed out jars are nice for storage.
My Main Mayo in Mexico

We tried Wilsey's. Bad. We tried Sauer's, another 2-quart jar; a gift from our amigo, Peter in Morelia. Nice, but unnecessary. Almost nothing beats McCormicks, to our taste. Yes; La Costeña, another Mexican brand is fine, but Costco doesn't sell it. We have been to Hellmann's and now we'll come back to McCormick's.

Another worthy local brand

There are those expats who so greatly crave the mayo of their NOB youth that they are willing to drive from the lovely Pátzcuaro - Morelia area to the Gringo enclave of Lakeside (Chapala and Ajijíc) to buy it, at greatly inflated prices at Super Lake. Of course, they buy other things while there as well, such as canned green beans. There's no accounting for tastes. We love the inexpensive, fresh green beans here, which take a minimal amount of preparation and cooking time.

A few years ago, another expat, living in the Blesséd, Magic city of Pátzcuaro proclaimed that "Mexican mayo was GARBAGE!"
I thought that was a culturally insensitive, not to mention offensive remark.

It has been pointed out that accomplished cooks can make superior, fresher mayo in their own kitchen. The ingredients are few. Of course, I have done that in past years, but now I just don't want to add yet another unnecessary layer of complexity to my meal preparation. There's also the dubious aspect of eating raw eggs used in the homemade mayo. There are enough hazards to intestinal health without adding possible salmonella. Making mayo in a home kitchen also takes patience. That's a virtue with which I have become less familiar in recent years.

Even Mexican mayo can be abused, in awful applications such as in sushi, on pizza, etc.

I will leave you with one final thought: although I'm at ease with Mexican mayo, I will never accept any ketchup other than Heinz'. Maybe, Del Monte in a pinch. We have had some terrible, Mexican made, ketchup-like substances, red stuff thickened with starches and gels. But that is another topic, another day.


Brenda Maas said...

I DISLIKE any bought Mayo; but to be honest can stomach the Mexican brands more readily than the NOB brands. The only one I used to use sometimes NOB was a Kraft brand that was somewhat edible.
I make my own cooked mayo. from a recipe of my moms, much tastier and no worries about Salmonella. It keeps indefinitely in the frig. also. More flavourful by far than any bought brand.


Anonymous said...

There's Kraft Mayo with olive oil NOB. It's tasty, and has half the calories and fat of regular mayonnaise.


Anonymous said...

People would think us superficial and possibly snotty if we were to weigh in on the great mayonaise controversy.
We want to know about ketchup/catsup. Have you ever heard Mexicans refer to it as Capsum? At first it was kinda funny, but we are increasingly puzzled as to the etimology of this spelling/pronunciation.


Jack and Jill

Tancho said...

Picky, Picky, Picky....Best Foods which was West of the Rockies was always the better tasting mayo growing up. Compared to Kraft which had Miracle Whip whip was awful. I use to make mayo at home before figuring out that spreading a avocado on stuff was way healthier and better for the diet.
1 TBS of that stuff can ruin a diet. I have seen people put 3 to 4 Tbs on a sandwich......
We have a squeeze bottle of the McCormicks in the fridge, I like it because of the lime, but value wise, it is a bust, anything in a special bottle is a rip off!

Brenda Maas said...

The Kraft product I was referring to was definitely not Miracle Whip, that stuff is disgusting. It was actually labelled as "Salad Dressing" but was sold in a jar alongside of the mayos. and sandwich spreads. It was not always found in our local grocery store which is why I started making my own as I couldn't stand any of the rest of the available products.

Marie said...

When I moved here I was initially shocked at the lack of some ingredients that I thought I *needed*. But that was only inspiration to try to create what isn't readily available here. :) Now we make our own pickles, krauts, tofu, etc. And mayo, of course.

I just made a bunch of tomato jam that I've been using in place of ketchup. It isn't the same, but it's a nice tangy change.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Did you know the mayo with lemon can be kept without a fridge? Although for me just about any mayo is fine, it's the lack of decent size peanut butter that gets me, along with the price. The cheaper pb at Waldo's is terrible.

I agree with you on the ketchup, you never know what you're gonna get with Mexican ketchup, but I did find a good one at Waldo's, Frank's ketchup. Funny thing is, it looks like it's from the states, but there is one just like it sitting next to it, with a little different design and in Spanish that says made for Waldo's. But it is really tasty!


Don Cuevas said...

Some people keep their Mexican mayo with limón at room temp, but I don't.

Ketchup: we can get Heinz at Costco and Sam's Club, but I find myself using it less and less.

I used to use ketchup when eating out, eg, mixed with mayo when eating Papas Francesas at Hamburguesas Richard's or Camarones para Pelar at Mariscos La Güera. But I found I liked a mixure of mayo and Salsa Cosecha Purhépecha Chipotle even more.

(We need to return to Chilchotla, Michoacán to Cosecha Purhépecha and see what's changed in 5 years.)

Don Cuevas

Anonymous said...

Don Cuevas,

I'd like to bother you with a question about hamburger meat in Mexico-almost every time we buy it here and cook it in the skillet it smells and tastes bad. There have been a couple times that hasn't happened. We used to buy it at the carniceria, but then we tried Aurrera and it was better for a while but seems to be happening again. We have asked many people why and what to do, but no one knows or cares. Do you have any insight? Are we being too picky?
Most likely I just don't know how to defrost/prepare it!

Don Cuevas said...

Lor, I don't know if I can help you with that specific problem. Years ago, we bought hamburger meat at Wal-Mart in Morelia. It had those same, unpleasant characteristics which you describe. They are signs that the meat is not fresh, or the ground beef should have been sold and consumed yesterday.

I no longer buy ground beef at local supermarkets. I did buy a big, 2 kg + pack at Costco in Morelia and it was fine.

I have found a good, very clean and generally conscientious carnicería in Pátzcuaro, and I have cultivated a relationship with them. I always get my beef or pork ground to order. It took a while to get them to include sufficient fat, but they now do so, more or less to my specifications. I can also specify what size grinding plate to use and how many passes to put the meat through he grinder. I try to use the ground meat immediately when we arrive home, or by the next afternoon, at he latest.

Rarely do i have a problem with odd tasting or smelling meat.

However, recently I bought, at the same carnicería, some ground pork with which to make Spicy Country Breakfast Sausage, and it had a bit of a "gassy" odor when I opened the bag. I decided that it was harmless, and proceeded to make the sausage. The results were delicious and caused us no harm, but I certainly would have preferred it without the extra aroma de cerdo.

I try not to freeze raw ground meat purchased at a carnicería tradicional, although I did set aside a little of the pork to make Ma Po Tofu at a later date. In my opinion, the defrosting adds to the potential bacterial buildup and potential degradation of quality.

Finally, when shopping at a carnicería, it's better to shop early in the day rather than later in the afternoon.

Don Cuevas

Anonymous said...

It's sad to waste hard earned pesos on foul meat, and then see the look on my husband's face when he smells it!

I'll see if I can try to get fresh ground meat from a good carniceria, most of them scare me, though.

Thank you very much, I appreciate it!


Anonymous said...

Do you know how I can contact Camille Waters? She had moved to Higuera Blanca, last I heard.
Barbara in Houston, TX

Don Cuevas said...

Barbara in Houston, if you will send my your email address via a comment form (I won't publish it), I will have Camille get in touch with you.

Don Cuevas

Anonymous said...

A helpful way to maintain a healthy weight is to avoid commercial mayonesa entirely.

It's junk food.