Growing up in Jersey, the only mayo I’d ever had was Hellmann’s and sometimes Kraft (my wife occasionally had Miracle Whip, but she’s from Connecticut, ahem). So not until I moved down to Arlington, Va., did I come across another brand known as Duke’s. “It’s a Southern thing,” I was told. Indeed, the product was the creation of Eugenia Duke, who began her sandwich (with homemade mayo) business in Greenville, S.C., toward the end of World War I.
Despite being a regional brand and slowly spreading, as it were, Duke’s is the third-biggest mayo brand behind Hellmann’s and Kraft (in the United States). My wife’s cousin, originally from Upstate New York but also a transplant in Arlington, swears by it.
As Emily Wallace notes in the Washington Post, there’s a bit of a cult following as well:
There was the man on his hospital death bed who asked for a tomato sandwich made with Duke’s. There was the mother of the bride who, after the company made its switch from glass to plastic containers around 2005, demanded four glass jars with labels intact to use as centerpieces at her daughter’s wedding. And there was the elderly woman from North Carolina. She wrote in hopes of obtaining just three glass jars, saying she’d like to be cremated and have her ashes placed in the containers for her three daughters.
It makes you want to go out and buy a jar this instant. (Of course, not everyone is a fan of mayo.)