Cains Mayo Is More Than Able
Updated: Jan 8
Let me get this straight, we talkin’ bout Mayo? Mayo? Not Bearnaise sauce. Not Hollandaise. Mayo? Not some obscure condiment in a random Chicago neighborhood only available on the third Thursday of every month. We talkin' bout mayo? Of all the “aises” in the world to write about and we talkin' bout plain old mayonnaise? I know what you are thinking; "aweee he ran out of ideas and is writing a blog about something he grabbed from his fridge". Nope, I'm going to tell you about Cains Mayo, the mayonnaise you probably never heard about, but should want to.
Mayonnaise may be the most polarizing condiment in the culinary world. People seem to either be knuckle deep in it or loathe it, but facts don't lie. According to quartz, Americans spend over $2 Billion dollars a year on the stuff. That's more than double what we spend on ketchup and four times that of mustard annually. It's indisputable, people really do LOVE IT!
It's only fitting that Hellman's, the company that first bottled ready-made mayonnaise in 1913 out of his New York City delicatessen, continues to be the country's most popular brand of the condiment. Prior to Richard Hellman's innovation, mayo was either made at home, or sold in small batches to be used within a day or two. Nowadays, it's everywhere. Duke's Mayo, first made by Eugenia Duke in 1917, reigns supreme south of the Mason Dixon Line although not in New Orleans, where locals are passionate about their favorite Blue Plate. Throughout the rest of the country, other brands like Kraft, Goya and even vegan friendly Vegenaise dominate store shelves. Although put an asterisk on the latter because per FDA regulation, it's technically not mayonnaise unless it contains egg yolk. Each one has their own signature taste; some more eggy (Blue Plate) or citrusy (McCormick). In other words, there's a brand for everyone's palate.
Dude, I Know What Mayo Is, But Why Should I Care About Cains?
I get it, there's probably nothing I can tell you about the creamy emulsion of egg yolk, oil and an acid (Usually vinegar or lemon juice and sometimes both) that you don't already know. Except maybe, did you know that some bakers add it to their cakes for added moistening? I did not and I am not sure how I feel about it, but I digress.
Unless you're from New England however, chances are you've never been exposed to Cains even though it's been around since 1924. It's the introvert mayonnaise. It doesn't have a flashy Instagram page. There isn't a college bowl game named after it like the Duke's Mayo Bowl and I haven't found any 1970's jingles like Hellman's "Mothers know best" ditty which is now an earworm in my head. Cains' non-descript packaging lacks the panache of a slightly constipated looking Sir Kensington or the peculiarity of an oddly placed baby on the label of the Japanese brand "original" Kewpie. And that's why I encourage you to try it, because you never have.
Cains gives off Goldilocks vibes, just the right amount of sour from the apple cider vinegar and savory from the natural spices and it subtly sweet taste pairs exceptionally well with New England's seafood culture. It's a staple ingredient in many cold "lobstah" rolls and can often be found in the tartar sauces at some of the best clam shacks on the coast.
Am I suggesting you take a road trip to try Cains? No, don't be ridiculous, it's mayonnaise. But I am hoping that the next time you vacation on the Cape or take a drive to New Haven for abeetz, you consider stopping at a Cumberland Farms and pick up a bottle. If you truly want to experience a region, you need to eat like the locals do, and there's nothing more local than Cains.
AND DID ANY OF MY PHILLY PEEP'S GET MY HOMAGE TO MY FAVORITE PHILLY ATHLETE?