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SOMERFIELD HEALTHY SELECTION

Manufactured by: Produced in Belgium for Somerfield Stores Ltd., P.O. Box 708, Bristol BS99 1GA
www.somerfield.co.uk
Ingredients: Water, rapeseed oil, glucose syrup, modified waxy maize starch, pasteurised egg yolk, vinegar, salt, acidity regulators: E270, E325; preservative: E202; stabiliser: E415; flavourings, concentrated lemon juice
Also states that "this product may contain traces of nuts or nut derivatives". And how exactly would they find their way into something as fundamentally un-nutty as mayonnaise? I must presume therefore, that all nut traces are the result of uncleaned squirting nozzles, hopelessly clogged after making a thousand litres of Somerfield Concentrated Nut Mulch. Yipes!
Taste: A cheap child's toy from McDonald's left carelessly atop a burning radiator for months on end from where it is inexplicably smeared with tinned carrots, recycled paper and goat's lard to be served to a table of Bulgarian circus performers and their expectant pet mice
Colour: The bright unfathomable inscrutable white as popularised by the carefully lacquered eyes of Zsa Zsa Gabor as she stares unblinkingly for yet another soft focus publicity photo into a dozen gathered camera lenses and a 5,000 kW arc lamp
Comments: Reduced calories and increased vinegary notes make for a strange sauce that should really be kept safe some place to be squirted into the eyes of crocodiles if a small child has becomes inadvertently cornered by the reptilian beasts
Overall: 6 out of 10 - Reduced calories, increased boredom

Many months and many mayonnaise and pea suppers have long passed into memory since I first reviewed the full blooded high calorie heart attack version of Somerfield's premium mayonnaise, stylishly housed in its streamlined inverted nozzle jet contraption. I would dearly love to report that since that moment that Somerfield have come to their debilitated senses and are no longer the scruffy loud inebriated tramp of British high street retail, and have willingly booked into a course of retail rehabilitation in a bright new out of town shopping mall somewhere. The truth of course though is that they haven't and in a perverse way, I'm really rather glad. Somerfield are still an embarrassment, lurching around within staggering distance of some really rather posh shops, reeking of own brand meths, shouting incoherently about consumer value, dancing merry jigs with rusting litter bins and other inanimate objects and generally making a rather ridiculous spectacle of themselves. Which of course amuses me no end because I'm a bitter vindictive old cove.

The habitual clientele who shop at Somerfield by and large don't go on diets, and Somerfield's range of "healthy selection reduced calorie" products is a pretty neat semantic attempt by some top psychological linguist at circumventing the problem of scaring away potential customers who would obviously be horrified to learn that some of their food might inadvertently cause them to go on a crash diet. Those bright shiny shell suits take a lot of filling up after all and less fattening foods aren't going to keep up their tremendous obese girth. Diets are shameful bad things and carry a stigma far worse than being a lard arsed grease bucket.

Imagine the horror of standing undisturbed in a supermarket checkout queue with your month's supply of condoms, Lloyd Grossman pasta sauce, pornography, pile cream and incontinence pads, when up behind you casually steps your boss from work, who is getting a few party essentials, along with the local Bishop, a few of his diocesan associates and the Chief Constable for the region. And then what happens? Well, a rogue bar code causes a price enquiry and the lumpen mass of teeth and facial hair that is the Somerfield check out assistance calls her supervisor over by repeated bellows of his name each successive below louder than a jet airliner taking off. And of course she's holding up the low calorie food selection that you surreptitiously hid underneath The Razzle Summer Special and the bottle of economy Welsh Whiskey.

Oh dear! Your career is now in tatters and the bishop is hiding under his mitre in embarrassment. Now all of your peers know that you buy diet food. They know that you're a secret and shameful glutton who eats twice as much as normal mortals, but who due to low calorie choices can still maintain a figure that doesn't mean having to walk through doors sideways. And they also know that you probably nip down the pub for bottles of slim line tonic when you pretend to be guzzling pints of Guinness. The shame and the horror. You'll certainly stick to the full calorie version of everything from now on!

Trevor Brooking

EPICURE ORIGINAL

Manufactured by: Petty, Woods & Co. Ltd., P.O. Box 66, Andover, Hampshire SP10 5LA
Ingredients: Sunflower oil, pasteurised egg yolk, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, mustard flour
Taste: A familiar whiff of cardboard, polystyrene novelty packaging materials and ground pebble dust and beaver cheese waft up from the freshly opened lid, promising the soon to be delivered and unmistakable taste of crushed snail shell fragments, brine shrimp, coconut, haddock and peas. A veritable banquet of novel viscous tastes
Colour: Snooker fans will instantly detect the memorable hue of Kirk Stevens' bright white suit after a nine session against Tony Knowles followed by an even more memorable session covering himself in showers of medical cocaine and the powder from a dozen gratuitous whores
Comments: A dressing that arguably causes precious little pain and suffering
Overall: 7 out of 10 - If salad cream is a crime, then this is the Epicure

EPICURE ORIGINAL

Mayonnaise is of course as educational as it is delicious, and here is a little number from the days of togas and sandals that is a veritable lecture tour in a jar. Epicurus was a Greek philosopher, living from 341-270 BC, who as well as founding the enduring school of thought that bears his name, launched a profitable sideline in ancient mayonnaise that also bears his name. A wealthy Grecian mayonnaise magnate, Epicurus was a learned and thoughtful scholar who was one of first the people to correctly postulate the true nature of the physical universe, building on the early prototypical atomic theories of Democritus later refined by Lucretius. But most importantly from the point of view of mayonnaise lovers everywhere, it was for his moral philosophy for which Epicurus is most widely known.

The fundamental tenets of the Epicurean thinking regarded the absence of pain or peace of mind as the greatest good. Derided for many centuries by moralists as an immoral pleasure seeker, his modern reputation owes much to the arguments of Sir Thomas Browne, the seventeenth century essayist. It is perhaps Sir Thomas that should be thanked, for this mayonnaise is a lively little number, that whilst not being the most spectacular sauce ever to have been smeared across my fish finger sandwich even with around 2400 years of development, it c certainly does not offend my peace of mind or trouble my pain sensors as some mayonnaises do. Such as anything containing tofu for instance.

Epicurean philosophy and its many centuries of indignant detractors, of course raise the issue of why anyone would argue against the absence of pain and a sense of well being as a worthwhile state of existence. Why, for instance is there not a counterpoint to the euthanasia movement who argue that patients with inoperable problems or terminal illnesses should be allowed to die with a shred of dignity at a moment of their own choosing? Certainly I would like to initiate a movement which allows people with very little wrong with them die at a moment of someone else's choosing (mine of course) and with as little dignity as possible. Should this movement appeal to any regular World of Mayonnaise subscribers, please send a substantial sum of money and I shall start proceedings. You see I have this little list, and they'll none of them be missed...

Gary Lineker

RACKHAMS LEMON

Manufactured by: Specially prepared for Farmhouse Products, CW12 4TG, by Devos Lemmos, ultimately for the good people of Rackhams, who in turn are part of The House of Fraser www.houseoffraser.co.uk. How confusing, one immense trans global conspiracy just for a small jar of vaguely lemon mayonnaise
Ingredients: Vegetable oil, egg yolk, spirit vinegar, mustard, sugar, lemon juice (1%), salt, antioxidant (edta), natural flavourings
Taste: Tart warm spider's eggs fried in a clarified butter and lemon zest sauce. Subtle hints of lemon drop gently onto the palate like small citrus pips in a freak gentle storm where they stage races around the mouth like sherbet covered termites
Colour: A fresh swirl of artex in a warm country pub on a bright summer's day that has just received its first breathless exhalation of stale nicotine smoke, puffed from the shrivelled chest of some wheezy drunken asthmatic
Comments: All very well and bearing the taste we expect of a premium brand, but the lemon taste is extremely subtle and hard to detect when dolloped from a great height onto a plate of deep fried haddock and chips. A cynic would suggest that the lemon tag is a cynical marketing ploy that means an extra fifty pence on a jar that is deliberately designed to look as rustic and as charming as a bottle of garden centre home made lemon curd also made in the same industrial estate near Brussels
Overall: 8 out of 10 - Rackham up baby

RACKHAMS LEMON

Rackhams is just one of many fine and noble stores owned by the large House of Fraser chain, which have over the years spread like an insidious plague of multi storey boils throughout the entire British Isles. House of Fraser stores are not that hard to spot five minutes after being parachuted into a small provincial town centre from a circling mayonnaise helicopter. The whiff of lavender scented old ladies with Yorkshire terriers in tartan shopping trolleys should within five minutes lead the inquisitive para shopper to the doors of a department store, on average about four storeys tall with a lovely perspex glass and steel decor scheme fitted sometime in the heady heights of the Abba obsessed 1970s.

Generally these stores sell the sort of overpriced premium consumer goods that everyone assumes disappeared from shop shelves many decades ago. Cheap and tawdry mass appeal goods that actually sell consistently, such as CDs and books, will be hidden as far away from the front door as possible, because as everyone who has ever entered a department store knows, from Debenham's to Selfridges, from Rackhams to Harrods, the entire ground floor sales space must by law be the sole domain of the perfume seller. Its that bit in Magna Carta just under the law regulating the passage of geese on a Sunday over London Bridge.

I suppose the thinking behind turning the entire ground area over to this intoxicating scent industry is the same thinking that advises unscrupulous estate agents to spray houses for sale with the condensed odour of coffee and fresh flowers, and encourages supermarkets to pump recycled essence of fresh bread into their customer's faces from the very second that the bakery aisle steers into view of the expectant trolley. And yet surely, perfume isn't really something that in this sophisticated modern age still draws people into a shop? When these large stores opened back in the retail dark ages, most people didn't wash and the ability to smell like a musk rat bathed in lavender and paraffin must have been extremely attractive. The truth is that most perfume for sale smells like a highly flammable melange of petrol, cheap gin and specially treated bat's urine mixed by some boffin in a high security laboratory, before it is slapped in a tiny bottle, given some 'exotic' sounding name and sold for as much as the manufacturers can seriously charge without laughing their white coats off. In fact at the risk of being sued, I wholeheartedly believe them all to be made in the same laboratory by the same overworked technician.

The perfume scented ground floor of a department store is really the sole preserve of women and all men should just put their head down and jog lightly but swiftly towards the escalators and head up to the menswear department which will probably be hidden away somewhere on the third floor. The sales assistants, all women of course, are all crisp white blouse wearing people with nice accents, hair tied back a little too tightly with make up that strongly favours luminous tones of orange and green, or else they are elderly supercilious witches who joined the company is 1956, have their hair bleached mayonnaise white twice a week and generally don't agree with anything.

Alan Hansen
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