Sunday, June 22, 2008
Mayoketchup: THE Puerto Rican condiment
Scott and I used to work at a boarding school, and the kids there went through a phase where they would mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, sometimes a little hot sauce or mustard, and use it as a dipping sauce for their French fries. They called it "Fat Sauce," and after the school nurse noticed an increase in the children's waistlines, the school promptly banned Fat Sauce and all of its variations.
Little did we know, these children weren't seeking attention, they were displaying culinary ingenuity and appreciation of cultural gastronomy! Good job, kids!
My first experience with Mayoketchup was at restaurant called Fuentes (I think) in Puerto Nuevo. I went there with my hotel friend, Carlos, and we ordered tostones. He asked me if I wanted some mayoketchup. I will eat almost anything put in front of me, especially if it is a cultural food, so I said, "Of course!" and dunked my fried plantain into the light orange dip in front of me. As it approached my lips, the familiar smell sparked hellish memories of my 9 months working at said boarding school, and I proclaimed. "Oh my god, this is Fat Sauce." Carlos seemed totally confused, and replied, "Oh, uh, here we call it mayoketchup." Of course you do!
Mayo and I have a difficult history, namely that its smell alone is often enough to give me the heaves. But I am here to experience all that is Puerto Rican culture has to offer, and somehow mixing it with ketchup takes the edge off. Some people have told me that mayoketchup is also used as a salad dressing, but I don't know if I'm up to that yet. Interestingly, Wilo Benet, Puerto Rico's celebrity chef (I am so obsessed with celeb chefs), has included a recipe for mayoketchup in his book Puerto Rico True Flavors, which I highly recommend for anyone looking for great Puerto Rican recipes and drooly pictures. And if Wilo Benet makes it, it's legitimate in my mind.
For those of you who aren't lucky enough to find Mayoketchup at your local Walgreens, don't fret! You can make your own! Just follow these step by step instructions:
1. In a bowl, mix 1 part ketchup to 2 parts mayonnaise.
2. Add garlic salt or powder to taste and mix well.
3. Dip fried foods into mayoketchup and enjoy.
4. Think about what you've done.
And on that note, I'm off for a run. Even writing about Mayoketchup makes me fatter.