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Hellmann's Light

Manufactured by: Bestfoods UK Ltd., P.O. Box 235, Esher, Surrey KT10 9XD
www.hellmans.com
Ingredients: Water, vegetable oil, modified starch, pasteurised egg and egg yolk, spirit vinegar, salt, sugar, cream, lemon juice, mustard flavouring, preservative (potassium sorbate), stabilisers (guar gum, xanthan gum), mustard, antioxidant (calcium disodium edta), paprika extract. One will immediately observe that most ingredients are modified, extracted or just scooped straight out of a Petri dish, why use mustard flavouring when you already have perfectly good mustard in a recipe? I suspect that even Hellmann's water may be processed water extract
Taste:
Like tepid rainwater passing through a bowler hat. A sticky suffocating cloying amalgam struggling to be as briefly sweet and joyous as summer breeze, and falling just short a tiny bit short
Colour: Standard Hellmann's white, now almost twice as white as any natural object
Comments: Setting the standard for mayonnaises the world over by being the biggest, most powerful, grumpiest food company, and by far the most likely to sue the World of Mayonnaise for salacious unsubstantiated comments
Overall: 8 out of 10 - Not the full on chemical creamy high of Hellmann's regular mayonnaise, but a fine attempt at luring the figure obsessed lettuce munchers into the clutches of the white devil

HELLMANN'S LIGHT

Hellmann's is the mayonnaise arm of the massive, galaxy wide Bestfoods empire, a loosely gathered group of despotic dominions which together account for 31,237% of the world's annual food consumption (all figures as verified by the Welsh Institute of Lies). Ruled over by the shadowy and publicity shy megalomaniac Mr Louis J Bestfood III, Bestfoods goal is to conquer the known universe (prior to then conquering the unknown bits) by means of a multitude of high visibility premium food brands, an aim which they certainly look set to achieve well before their 2125 deadline. Save for a small unassuming band of merchandising friendly toy bears dwelling peaceably on one of the moons of Endor, Bestfoods empire is now the single most powerful force at work in the cosmos.

Many firms of course have more than one brand of mayonnaise, and it would be a little churlish to criticise Hellmann's for their pioneering work in advanced mayonnaise research over the years. In their stable of over eight hundred thoroughbred brand mayonnaises though, Hellmann's Light is a skinny pale white mare, with a slight touch of colic and perhaps an allergy to freshly mown hay. Reaching the shores of the United Kingdom only quite recently, Hellmann's Light was a minor revelation, riding upon the crest of a periodic wave of temporary fitness, which sweeps over the British populace after every third "lard can make you a bit fat actually" scare. Borrowing its concept and initiative from the United States, a country which is contrarily both the most health obsessed and by far the most obese (apologies to any passing Germans) it is now the most popular diet brand of mayonnaise in the country.

A fine mayonnaise which follows Mr Bestfoods prescription for world and galactic domination. This runs something like: find a product, spend a gazillion dollars on marketing, killing of small pockets of resistance, research, chemicals and Korean part time workers in order to create a tasty, possibly addictive and powerfully marketed brand which consumers will be exposed to more than the rays of the sun in their particular part of the solar system. Highly viscose saturated mayonnaise without the addictively sweet qualities of its big fat bullish brother, marked with a dry and arid aftertaste, possibly with slightly more mustard intonations than is usual for an American brand. Bitterness from lemons do well to make up for the noted lack of sweetness and the creamy modified way of Hellmann's secret flavouring ensures that all obese fitness junkies will eat it voraciously by the juicy gallon bucket load.

Safeway Garlic

Manufactured by: On no! It's yet another nefarious Belgian chef, on behalf Safeway, 6 Millington Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 4AY
www.safeway.co.uk
Ingredients: Water, soya oil, spirit vinegar, glucose syrup, pasteurised egg yolk, modified starch, salt, maize starch, mustard, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, flavouring, preservative (potassium sorbate), stabiliser (guar gum), xanthan gum), parsley
Taste:
Absurdly sweet tasting garlic mayonnaise that only registers the notes of brief garlic luminosity after it has battered the flailing senses into submission with a heavy barrage of glucose syrup induced sickly sweet blows. An incorrigible taste that could make the eyes of a fully grown African bull elephant water as the syrup does its mean business around the taste buds. As for the garlic, its dehydrated limpness is bullied by the precociousness of the sweetness and barely gets a look in the brain retreats into a special cavity of the skull saved for just such occasions. Hints of sulphuric acid, battered cod, stick insects and dandelions abound, like Morris dancers around a large maypole skilfully fashioned out of congealed glucose syrup
Colour: Pumice stone yellow, haplessly speckled with dehydrated essence of existence
Comments: I can't feel my feet anymore, my ears are itching and there is a vague sensation of unease spreading from my spleen outwards
Overall: 5 out of 10 - to recap, here are the valuable lessons that we have learnt today (in no particular order): always use fresh ingredients - dehydrated is not an option, go easy on the glucose syrup, treat gaily coloured own brand jars with contempt and never ever trust a Belgian

SAFEWAY GARLIC

Garlic and mayonnaise, what an instinctive and automatic choice these two ingredients seem to the casual observer and yet it is surprising for many people to learn that garlic, a bulbous root vegetable of the allium family, existed for many centuries without the complimentary presence of mayonnaise.

Like strawberries and cream, rhubarb and custard and bicycles and Lycra, the destiny of some ingredients seem so inexplicably linked that one struggles hard to imagine a time when they were not intimately entwined. History may, for example, legitimately be divided into two eras; the mayonnaise age followed thereafter by the garlic mayonnaise age, a more advanced age when oil and egg based dressings came truly into their own. This second age of creativity paved the way for such visionary twenty first century concepts as mayonnaise and tarragon, parsley, basil and dill.

But what would life have been like if mayonnaise had never been combined with garlic or rhubarb had not been thoroughly crumbled and custarded? Well, many things would be different, some for the better and a great many more for the worse. I would venture that man would never have walked on the moon, the Spanish Inquisition would have been just a brief high spirited week long toga party, the First World War would have lasted just one Tuesday afternoon and Ted Rogers would still be presenting 3-2-1. And to think that this would all be because of the failure of garlic to successfully be mixed with mayonnaise.

Scientists have estimated mathematically that there are only another twelve classic food combinations that have not yet been discovered. It is further known that for some of these food combinations no single ingredients yet exists although it is now believed that the fourth and fifth of these hypothetical combinations contains varying amounts of Dairylea cheese slices and that the seventh contains some extract of industrial creosote.

The English incidentally have had a lengthy and morbid distrust of cuisine and an almost pathological fear of garlic which centuries of xenophobia, internecine warfare, bloody disputes and insane European legislation have done little to ease. The fear that an otherwise reasonable and repressed Englishman could become an unwashed, womanising, snail eating Frenchman simply by consuming a single bud of garlic is for many people still very real. Only recently has the public consumption of garlic become socially acceptable, but then only when accompanied by a foreign waiter and an American Express gold card. Scotland, Wales and Ireland still have not experienced garlic. We await their verdict.

Delouis Fils Fresh

Manufactured by: Delouis Fils, 87230 Champsac, France
www.delouis.com
Ingredients: Sunflower oil, egg yolk, mustard, white wine vinegar, salt, lemon. Simplicity itself, and oh so fresh and invigorating for it
Taste:
Full of wit and character, bitter, complex and intriguing, like some twisted old bloke down the pub. Exceptional smatterings of creamy scrambled eggs cavort gaily through French olive and lemon groves with heavy caressings of mustard and unwashed billy goats following gleefully behind like a bizarre condiment carnival
Colour: A muddy Citroën 2CV yellow, with hints of an overcast afternoon sun straining to spread its fading haze on the jaundiced lawn of a Provençal bowling green
Comments: As authentically French as it is possible to get without actually harming a farmyard animal
Overall: 9 out of 10 - If one can physically stand up to the sturdy unyielding mustard pushing its weight around like a drunken farm hand, this is a rewarding and immeasurably beautiful mayonnaise full or deep rich flavours

DELOUIS FILS FRESH

As mentioned above, and at tedious length elsewhere, the French have never had an easy relationship with the English. The French, Scots and Irish of course have a shared hatred of the English to bond them together in adversity whilst it is a constant source of comfort that neither the Welsh or French have actually heard of each other. There are so very many English stereotypes and archetypes of the French nation, that to list them all would be a mammoth and possibly never ending task. Some national prejudices of course are ludicrous and unfounded, whilst a good many others are incredibly apt and perfectly pertinent.

British cuisine has long been the last stronghold of Barbarian resistance to the civilising Latin influences in Europe, so much so that many people thought it could never be breached. Whilst the Renaissance has been slow to affect suburban Britain, it is a great credit to Leonardo and his gang of scholarly artistes that after some six hundred years of continued enlightenment and erudition, house wives all across Britain and lonely bachelors in their soiled underwear can use French condiments without the ridicule and hatred of their peers, if indeed they have any. The renaissance has finally triumphed over the dark ages, and it's influence stretches from the palaces of Florence to the kitchen units of the Cotswolds.

It is a triumph of sorts for the French, and a minor defeat for the British after so many years of bitter culinary disputes. Despite the continued British insistence that hot lard, fried potatoes, fish fingers, beef burgers and baked beans were the five main constituents of all meals, Gallic creativity is now quite commonplace and nothing to be ashamed of. Sauce is no longer simply red or brown and lettuce and tomatoes have been saved forever from the vile ravages of the salad cream menace. Les Delouis fils have provided this tasty full bodied mayonnaise to celebrate the new enlightenment and provide fine food for all their new cross channel pals. We wait to see if the British in exchange will tutor the French in the arts of politeness and manners, credible pop music, military prowess and kindness to animals.

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