Posts from 10th November 2003
Condiments I Have Known #2: Hellman’s Mayonnaise
There’s a general rule of thumb in our house that if there’s a food product you like and buy regularly from the supermarket, try making it from scratch at home and see how much better and cheaper it turns out. This applies to bread, bagels, pizza, cakes, biscuits, flour tortilla and its derivatives, sauces, juices, humous, fishfingers and most importantly ice cream. But when it comes to mayonnaise, I come over all rockist and won’t even entertain the thought of home-made. I know full well that Hellman’s is probably full of crap, is probably not even what discerning folk would call mayonnaise, but god it’s good – thick and creamy and indulgent, and lacking the acidic edge and unhealthy yellow sheen of salad cream. I can’t have chips or battered fish or pizza crust or cheese salad sandwiches or raw veg or (my favourite) garden peas without it. Without wanting to stray into the realm of food porn, I think I love particularly the fact that it’s so unnaturally white; there’s an aesthetic pleasure in creating contrasting shiny pools of ketchup and mayo next to your chips. The White Stripes would surely understand.
It’s almost certainly just over-excitement, but here I am at last eating at one of those Japanese sushi-snack bars where the food goes past you on a little conveyor belt (Kulu Kulu on Brewer Street). It’s like watching Grand Prix – or (better still) Scalextrix. Picking your dish is like being a suffragette at the Grand National, you choose your moment and hurl yourself bravely and bodily underneath the breaded prawns. Deciding what to have is like being at the baggage carousel in an airport: that LOOKS like the item you’re after, but what if it’s just a chance resemblance? Best let them all go round again one more time to be sure. Shouldn’t the salmon sushi be travelling against the belt-flow? THE FLUFFY TOY!! And so on.
After a (long) while you calm down and tuck in – and dream of a perfectly organised Moebio-Stalinoid food-industry topology-of-the-future, wherein one single ever-so-long serving ribbon is built so as to loop sushi through every snack-bar in the world…
Further to Mark’s point b2 below: The visuals at one point were particularly noteworthy. Voiceover: Such-and-such spent ages looking for an equation. Cue pic of (absurdly handsome) actor leafing through a tome apparently at random, searching, always searching, before closing the book resignedly and chucking it on to the growing pile. Actor then picks another book from the shelf. That the equation in question was actually 200 years old, and therefore was probably written down in a dusty book somewhere, makes no difference to the fact that this is a terrible representation of how these leaps and interconnections are made! It seemed to suggest that this sort of work was just an uncomprehending harvest of a deep and long-forgotten magick. The equation could probably be found in any number of shiny new textbooks as well! As m’colleague indicated below, the criteria for such an equation are what’s important. A small point, possibly, but communicating the flavour of the subject is perhaps the programme-makers’ real task, not telling us the definition of tachyons or whatever.