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De Rit Natural Products

Manufactured by: an anonymous liberal minded Dutchman on behalf of the highly estimable De Rit, Tiel De Rit (UK) Ltd., Halifax HX2 6EJ
Ingredients: Sunflower oil, free range eggs, cider vinegar, honey, mustard, sea salt, herbs, lactic acid
Delicate suggestions of ripe acorn, vicuņa
droppings and just plucked willow leaf, permeate this fine organic product, whilst a resonating aftertaste of damp moss, desiccated squirrel and scorched oak bark leave the unsettling sensation of having plummeted head first and open mouthed from a great height into a forest floor gently moistened by the first rain fall of spring
Colour: Like a slightly anaemic yet still perky woodland vole, pleasuring the consumer with agreeable memories of walking through a crisp autumnal scene
Comments: Once the curious sensation of eating oak twigs passes, this is a fine mayonnaise that only disappoints because it doesn't taste as amazingly different or as radical as one would first expect
Overall: 6 out of 10 - a fine product with an equally fine taste, and one which also makes the perfect arboreal camouflage


Organic food is often seen as the most effective solution to all of society's many ills. Surely if one can comfortably eat food that tastes noticeably of sticks, then it leaves one with little desire afterwards to plan invasions of Poland or stage armed uprisings in unstable third world republics. On a lesser level though, organic food does successfully manage a few other achievements. By removing all of the manifold artificial preservatives, colourings, sweeteners, emulsifiers and flavour enhancers favoured by modern food manufacturers, as well as ensuring that no artificial chemicals are used to poison any potential parasite or favourably alter the space time continuum, organic food actually tastes like food really should, rather than tasting like or looking like what the manufacturer presumes we would prefer. Food like it it tasted when you "was little", as anyone who has crunched into an organic tomato immediately after similarly chewing a supermarket tomato which essentially remains an unfeasibly large spherical red container of water. Like Father Christmas with a prostate problem.

This mayonnaise then, manages to remain agreeably natural looking without completely being the obvious tone and shade of a squirrel's arse, in direct contrast to the quite obviously lethally radioactive and industrially bleached pristine white that Happy Shopper presents to the shopper, who may or may not be happy. Organic food will make your insides happy even if your wallet looses a few inches in the process.

I am afraid that at this stage little is known of the well meaning De Rit organisation and their commendable range of uncontaminated food, but as they sound vaguely foreign and Dutch at that, I feel it best at this point to move on hastily with my Union Jack hoisted high over my head.

St Michael

Manufactured by: The arrogant and tyrannical king of Own Brand Land St. Michael (patron saint of microwave meals, middle class dinner parties and boring lingerie) exclusively on behalf of Marks and Spencer plc, Baker Street, London
Vegetable oil, water, egg yolk, spirit vinegar, glucose syrup, fresh lemon juice, salt, Dijon mustard
Taste: Really quite remarkable, although the blandness of the jar design does the sauce no favours at all. A strong clean citric hint of fresh lemon juice pervades the mayonnaise, complimented by the merest smattering of Dijon mustard, far from industrial in boquet, the tang of warm engine grease is notable only by its absence
Colour: Thick bright white plaster of Paris that could comfortably fill a hole in the artexed wall of a small country inn without leaving any visible signs
Comments: Like watching your beloved old grandmother slip slowly into a life of petty crime, drug abuse and seedy prostitution, Marks and Spencer only survive by the fact that we all remember their glory days when their eyes were clear, their senses were intact and they used to give us such nice scones and tea, and always had such such nice clean underwear
Overall: 7 out 10 without hesitation - but I do remain concerned that this enjoyable and possibly exciting mayonnaise is made in the same top secret workshop as the M&S range of pants and socks


Ah, now Marks and Spencer, what could be more resolutely British than Marks and Spencer, and what could be more manifestly not really very good anymore than senile, dribbling, smelling faintly of urine, old M&S? For those unfamiliar with this doddering decrepit uncle of British high street retailing, Marks and Spencer, and their patron saint, the purveyor of fine produce and underpants St. Michael, are the comfortable corduroy cardigan of modern retailing, cosy, warm and readily familiar but ultimately nearly as fashionable and as in touch with reality as Lonnie Donegan's mum. An obvious and overwhelming arrogance towards their position in the market place, together with an utter disdain for such low brow ideas as marketing, customer care, advertising and consumer research, has lead Marks and Spencer astray in a tragedy surely worthy of an ancient Greek melodrama.

In a few short years M&S have managed to make the move from the big grand old house down the road with high brick walls and carefully tended gardens, to sitting somewhat unsteadily atop the crumbling brick wall opposite the off licence, where it broods disconsolately whilst drinking copious amounts of cheap sherry, own brand port and plum brandy, sometimes sharing a few stolen canapés and vol au vents with its boozy friends, part time want to be winos and steadily sinking associates, BHS, DH Evans and Burton's.

Their mayonnaise of course is still fine, as is most of the goods that Marks and Spencer sell. The problems though are manifest even in this isolated egg based condiment. A disdain for gloss and visible thought processes such as marketing, has led to a bland green jar that does not seek to over excite the shopper with garish colours, elaborate serving suggestions cheerfully embodied by the Happy Shopper shrimps, or even a single visible brand message. Instead we have a written serving suggestion in cautionary didactic tones to the left of the label and the customary sonorous nutritional information to the right. Not very exciting for me the dedicated chronicler of all things mayonnaise, if I want a good read I'll buy a book, not a jar of mayonnaise, and if I go to Marks and Spencer's I'll buy a jar of mayonnaise and not a pair of sensible white pants.

C'est Sainsbury's

Manufactured by: an undetermined French peasant for the respected English retailer J Sainsbury plc., Stamford Street, London SE1 9LL
Ingredients: Vegetable oil, water, egg yolk, dextrose, spirit vinegar, mustard, salt, modified corn starch, acidity regulator: tartaric acid, preservative: potassium sorbate, flavourings: mustard oil. Whilst none of these Gallic cupboard essentials sound particularly French, we should perhaps be grateful that no diseased animal offal or raw sewage products have been utilised
Full bodied, rich, stultifying, and as thick and creamy as Brian Blessed's shaving foam, all with a texture reminiscent of a mature otter's tail marinated some length of time in brine, lemon juice, double cream and eggs
Colour: A satisfying off white like the colour of a faded tricolore in the run down municipal Hotel de Ville of some provincial French town
Comments: Truly authentic French, the most daring piece of continental sauce to enter Middle England since the ground breaking experimental first series of 'Allo 'Allo, a dense sauce with which even the neurotic René Artois and the fallen Madonna with the big boobies could relax
Overall: 7 out of 10 - one in the eye for the crusty malignant xenophobes, this creamy sauce displays all the fruity decadence and disregard for decency that Teddy Taylor and his Europhobic chums always tried to warn us about


The British have only relatively recently acquired a sense of sophistication that stretches any discernible way beyond chicken kievs, prawn cocktails, flock wallpaper, individual quiche and holidays spent in Benidorm. However, there was a time not too long ago, let us call it for sake of argument the 1970's, when the height of fashion and refinement was a Nana Mouskouri record, a Ford Cortina, a pair of flares and a Day-Glo orange shirt with bizarrely winged collars

During this dark period almost anything could be made intriguingly exotic by the merest hint of strange foreign origins. This was an age of course when most Brits had been no further south than Torquay and when danger and excitement existed courtesy of a thousand dodgy advertising campaigns. Aside from various dramatic and dynamic events that define a generation such as the draining of the European Campari lake, the popularisation of martial arts via Hai Karate after shave, Babycham ensuring the return of women to pubs for the first time since 1802, and the first appearance of a garlic bulb in London, this decade also brought those bitterest of begrudging enemies the French and English together, albeit just for a brief transitory moment of time.

And in those days, while we all flew back and forth between Paris and London on our Concorde aeroplanes or drove our chickens to market in our battered Citrõen 2CV's, the prefixing of anything by the word 'French' bestowed credibility beyond measure. Stale crusty old loaves fried in grease were now French toast, silly long sticks of bread were suddenly French bread, condoms French letters and pale tasteless anorexic chips were now French fries. It is in the heady atmosphere of this stale throwback to the twentieth century that Sainsbury's French Mayonnaise comes to bring a chic continental style and flavour to all of our mundane Anglo Saxon meal times. Goes particularly well with salmon en croûte and moules marinières.

(Produit de France)

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