Saturday, June 5, 2010


Some foods just naturally and traditionally go together—wine and cheese; cookies and milk; scotch and soda; peanut butter and jelly; coffee and mayonnaise. Whoa! Coffee and what?

Mayonnaise. It’s the perfect accompaniment to coffee. You can have coffee and a piece of pie, a slice of cake, a doughnut, a cinnamon roll, but nothing goes better with coffee than a sandwich and nothing goes better with a sandwich than a cup of coffee. A sandwich of anything—bologna, cheese, b-l-t, tuna, egg salad, chicken salad, roast beef, fried egg—put any of them on bread slathered with mayonnaise and you have an unbeatable taste treat.

Ah, but you might say, it’s the bread, not the mayonnaise. But not so, No matter what the bread—English muffin, sourdough, whole wheat, classic white, hamburger bun or a cold biscuit—they’re all from wheat flour of some description, just as are the sweet treats.  You certainly could not say that the flavor that compliments coffee is wheat flour. Ever tasted plain old flour? No taste. And those pies and sweet rolls, except for the colorful sugary addition they’re pretty much the same baker’s flour with the difference in the pastry flavoring itself.  Sure those go with coffee, but they couple equally well with milk, iced tea or diet cola. 

If the magic is not in the sandwich filling or even the sandwich bread, then the one remaining ingredient of all those sandwiches that go so well with coffee is the mayonnaise. But maybe all is not lost with cake and coffee. The true test might be to substitute mayonnaise for the butter cream filling and frosting. Naw. Maybe it is the sandwich bread that makes the difference after all. I’ll have a cup of black coffee, no sugar, and a sandwich. Maybe pastrami on marble rye—with mustard.

Jim Woods

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