My favorite thing to eat with saltine crackers is mayonnaise. I gave that delightful snack up several years ago because our daughters were so disgusted by it. Well, the more I thought about mayo and crackers last week, the more I wanted some. I took the jar of mayo out of the fridge, slathered some over a saltine square and took a bite of paradise. Oh, it was good! Just as I crunched into that bite of bliss, I realized that Michelle was watching me.
“Oh, please, Mama, don’t! Oh, no! Not that . . . not that crackers and mayonnaise mess! I didn’t think you ate that anymore!” she wailed. My reply to her was another cracker spread with mayo. I put the combination in my mouth and chomped down, savoring every creamy, crunchy crumb of it. Later, Michelle told her Facebook friends how much I like crackers and mayo. She couldn’t believe the response. Comments ranged from those who like the snack as much as I, to those who feel as she, that it is “extremely gross” and there should be a law prohibiting the eating of such.
Crackers and mayo may be one of those “you just had to have grown up in the 50s” kind of things. Back then, to those of us who didn’t live down the street from a big grocery store, having a jar of mayo in the fridge was almost a status symbol. Not all community stores stocked a lot of “non-staples” such as mayonnaise. We always kept a jar on hand because Mom was the champion potato salad maker for church suppers and such. I don’t know how I stumbled onto the fact that mayo and crackers was the best snack in the world, but throughout my growing up years I savored mayo and crackers – often.
After our daughters came along the eating of crackers and mayo totally disgusted both of them. I made myself believe that peanut butter was just as good with crackers, and I took on a new snack life. One night when Michelle was in her early teens our cousin Edgar Clayton and his wife, Ruby, came for a visit. We were playing the card game Uno, enjoying “coffee and talkie,” along with crackers spread with peanut butter while we played.
Ruble and Ruby loved Uno games because they could always beat Edgar and me. Ed and I would get busy talking and forget to say “Uno” when we were supposed to say it. But as I often do, I digress. Back to mayo and crackers. That night, as we were being soundly beaten at Uno, Cousin Edgar said, “LaVale, set out the mayonnaise; that’s what I want with my crackers!”
Looking a little green and holding their hands over their mouths, Michelle and Dawn left the room. Ed and I (with no help from our spouses) enjoyed crackers and mayonnaise far longer than the games of Uno lasted. After that, my taste for mayo and crackers lingered. I would often sneak around and enjoy my favorite snack. I finally got tired of covering my snack tracks and decided to let mayo and crackers be just a memory of the good old days.
Until last week. I got that craving again. I acted on it and got caught by our daughter, who has not changed her opinion one bit. I’ve pushed the mayo to the back of the fridge. I tell myself it tastes terrible on crackers. I’m going through withdrawals, but I’m determined not to go back to my old “disgusting” snack ways. My taste buds make it hard to stand by that declaration of determination.
LaVale Mills is Publisher Emeritus of The Red Bay News.