As a transplant to northern Minnesota from North Carolina, with a 17-year detour in Washington, D.C., there are a few things from growing up that I’ve had to either learn how to make on my own or import if I want it in my adopted home.
A phone call home one afternoon from my first “real” apartment took care of my sweet tea needs. A second call home to Mama, plus a seasonal purchase from Target, got me that homemade peach ice cream I crave. But one that always eluded me in both Washington, D.C. and here in Minnesota was mayonnaise.
If you’re from North or South Carolina — or really the South in general — there is only one kind of mayonnaise: Duke’s Mayonnaise.
I don’t want to bad-mouth Kraft or Hellmann’s, but if that’s what you’re serving me, I know. And I might be judging you a little.
I think the secret is there’s no sugar added to Duke’s.
No sugar added? It must be diet mayonnaise — said no one ever.
Duke’s isn’t any healthier or better for you, but man, does it go well on a “nanner sandwich.”
What’s a nanner sandwich, you ask?
Well, it’s a banana sandwich. You take two slices of white bread, slather both pieces with plenty of Duke’s. Slice up a banana on one piece, put your top on, press it down good and you have a staple of summer lunches at the Malcomb house in the 1980s and '90s.
The tang of the Duke’s with the sweetness of the banana — whoo, boy, summer eating doesn’t get much better than that for me.
My wife almost gagged the first time I told her about it.
Anyway, Duke’s was more of a challenge, but about a year ago, my wife realized we could just order it from Walmart and pick it up at the Hermantown store. By the way, we’ll just mark that down in the pro-globalization column.
Over the weekend, though, my wife was about to order more. She was on the website and I hear her holler.
“Jamey,” she said. “It says it’s in stock at the Cloquet Walmart.”
“Whaaaa,” I yelled back as I make my way into the living room.
“They have it at the Cloquet store,” she said. “Jamey, you have to write about this.”
I went in earlier today and picked up a jar and still I couldn’t believe it. It was almost like finding Cheerwine on the shelf. (Cheerwine will have to be another column, because Mama still ships me a case or two a year. It’s a soft drink, made in Salisbury, N.C. It’s truly the nectar of the gods.)
I’ll tell you though, finding Duke’s in Cloquet — even in an international chain like Walmart — made me feel a little more at home here.
If any of y’all are brave enough to try a nanner sandwich, shoot me an email with a photo — and don’t forget the Duke’s.
Jamey Malcomb is a reporter for the Pine Journal. He can be reached at 218-355-8868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.