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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Viewpoint

VIEWPOINT: The “Mayonnaise Myth”


Photo by Jasper Golangco | SXC.


For years, mayonnaise-based foods like potato salad and macaroni salad have taken the rap for food poisoning at summer picnics. As the story went, unrefrigerated mayo-based dishes spoiled more easily in the heat than others…or the combination of mayo with other proteins plus heat caused Salmonella. Mayonnaise should never be used in picnic foods, mother cautioned; mayo-based foods left on the kitchen counter should be tossed.

But these common misconceptions simply are not true. According to The Association for Dressings & Sauces, an international association of salad dressing, mayonnaise, mustard and other condiment manufacturers and their suppliers, commercial mayonnaise is one of the safest products you can eat.

Carefully prepared under strict quality controls, mayonnaise is made with pasteurized eggs that are free of Salmonella and other dangerous bacteria. Additional ingredients such as vinegar and lemon juice create a high-acid environment that slows, and even stops, bacterial growth. The salt in the recipe also contributes to an unfavorable environment for bacteria. In fact, hazardous bacteria die off if placed in a commercially prepared mayo!

Once, there was truth in the story. Many years ago, when mayonnaise was prepared from scratch, home cooks used unpasteurized eggs, which we now know can sometimes be contaminated by Salmonella bacteria. Also, homemade mayonnaise, unlike commercial products, may not contain
enough salt and vinegar to counteract the growth of harmful bacteria.

While mayonnaise does contribute 100 calories a tablespoon and cholesterol from egg yolks (that’s the bad news), it is made with healthy oils such as soybean and canola. Both are natural sources of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid—no trans fat. Both are also a major source of vitamin E. Read the label of your favorite mayonnaise to see what healthy oils it contains (some have olive oil, for example).

  • Check out Lemonaise, one of our favorites and a Top Pick Of The Week, also available in Lemonaise Light.
  • See the mayonnaises available from San Francisco’s Restaurant Lulu, including the kickin’ garlic aïoli—all Top Picks Of The Week.
  • Make Julia Child’s mayonnaise recipe from scratch, plus green mayonnaise with spinach and herbs.
  • Comments

    VIEWPOINT: Clamato Tomato Cocktail, The Worst Product Of The Year?

    A few weeks ago, we were at a food trade show in San Francisco, tasting away. Almost everything is good, if not electrifying (that is to say, not “Nibblelicious”). But at one booth, an attractive-looking white and dark chocolate pastry with coconut was so vile, we had to spit it out.

    (As one NIBBLE staffer commented, “I not only spit it out, I also had to scrape my tongue.”) Generally at the Fancy Food Show, it never gets this bad; even in the supermarket, it doesn’t.

    But as we were picking up a few supermarket items this week, we found a contender for the worst thing tasted this year.

    The market was out of the organic brand of tomato juice we usually buy. As our eyes scanned the shelves, they noticed Clamato juice, a brand owned by Cadbury-Schweppes that we haven’t had in more than 20 years.

    Hmm, we thought, healthy tomato juice and healthy clam juice combined. We’re in!

    Ladies and gentlemen: Read the labels before buying, even on what you think is a simple bottle of juice!


    Too much sugar in our savory foods!


    Because when we got home and poured ourselves what we thought would be a healthy, tasty glass of it, we couldn’t believe our taste buds. Think tomato juice with tablespoons of sugar mixed in—only it was high fructose corn syrup. When we went back to the store, shell-shocked (note pun), we compared the ingredients in the Tomato Clam Juice Cocktail from White Rose. Same sad story. Same vile taste.

    Why, oh why, does Big Manufacturing have to throw sweetener into every savory product from bagels to soup to tomato juice?

    Not only does it taste horrific (to the refined palate, anyway—obviously somebody is buying it). It adds sugar calories where they aren’t needed or wanted, contributes to the obesity epidemic and warps the palates of the majority of Americans who don’t know better and think that this is what food is supposed to taste like.

    We’re so spooked by this, we’re going to start reading labels on milk and egg cartons.



    VIEWPOINT: Should You Buy Bottled Water?

    Bottled water is a hotly-contested topic these days. After several years of impressive growth, sales have recently declined. Much of the the decline is attributed to environmental issues, specifically, the amount of plastic bottles going into landfill. Bottled water expert Michael Mascha explains the difference between commodity bottled water and naturally bottled water, and why you should consider buying one and not the other.

    Much of the bottled water sold in the United States is really bottled municipal tap water. Government and industry estimates are that filtered municipal water comprises up to 40% of the bottled water sold. It makes no sense to buy this processed tap water. If you are not happy with the way your own tap water tastes, you would be much better off buying a water filter. You’d save money, gas, your own energy hauling, storage…not to mention the environmental benefit of reducing the amount of PET plastic bottles produced and disposed of by more than 40%.

    Most consumers confuse two distinctly different types of bottled water: commodity bottled water and naturally bottled water. Read about the difference between each one, and make an informed decision, in the full article on

    Soda Club USA


    Fun & Learning: Measure Your Carbon Footprint

    Start your day with a bowl of organic
    breakfast cereal
    . Organic food
    production does not create greenhouse
    gases. If every American converted 10%
    of our foods to organic, it would be the
    equivalent of taking 2 million car off the
    road each year.
      Measure your carbon footprint with the Ecological Footprint Calculator. It’s eye-opening—and fun. Earth Day Network has created the tool to combat climate change. You create your three-dimensional avatar and tour your virtual neighborhood as you answer a series of questions about your eating habits, energy use, mode of transportation, type of residence, recycling commitment and consumer consumption. The Foodprint Calculator then tells you how many “planets” would be necessary to sustain human life if everyone lived just like you, and how many acres of land and tons of carbon necessary to sustain your lifestyle. If you want, you can find out how to reduce your carbon footprint. We were shocked at our results: We don’t eat meat, don’t own a car and take public transportation a short distance to work, although we do take a few airplane trips a year. Our result: It takes 4.3 planet Earths to sustain just one of us!

    You have to supply an email address to start the quiz, but it’s well worth it. Take the next step at (Note: The Footprint Calculator currently has measures for the United States and Australia only, but expects to have more countries by the end of the year.)



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