I showed up at the gate of the C.F. Sauer Co. in Richmond this past summer pronouncing myself something of a mayonnaise scholar: “I wrote my master’s thesis on pimento cheese,” I told Erin Hatcher, who oversees the company’s Duke’s Mayonnaise label. As any Southerner knows, mayonnaise is perhaps pimento cheese’s most important ingredient; after all, it holds it all together.
But Hatcher almost blew my cover of detached academic when she began to tell me about Duke’s legions of dedicated fans. They send an endless stream of fan mail, she explained, including letters, recipes, concepts for television commercials and paintings. “Paintings of a jar with a sandwich,” she told me, arching her eyebrows. “A lot.”
*Read on in the Washington Post.