History and Stories

Banana Mayonnaise Sandwich – The disgusting sandwich that raised US$159,935 for school children

On 5 April 2016, Dale Earnhardt Jr., a NASCAR auto racing driver, posted a sandwich that made the internet question everything they know about sandwiches.

It is, as it looks. A sandwich made of bread, mayonnaise and banana. He calls this his favorite sandwich, where the recipe is also posted on his own website:

The Official Dale Jr. Hellmann’s Mayo and Banana Sandwich Recipe:
Prep Time: 2 minutes
– One loaf of white bread
– One jar of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
– One bunch of bananas

1. Start with two slices of bread.
2. Spread a generous portion of Hellmann’s Mayo onto two slices of bread.
3. Peel bananas and cut in half, lengthwise.
4. Lay banana slices on bread (tip: DEJ prefers three slices), topping with the other slice of bread.
5. Enjoy!

One more suggestion: add peanut butter.

Most people are disgusted by the thought of mixing banana and mayo, as shown by GQ Magazine’s poll on Twitter.

GQ Magazine tried the sandwich and decided that licking a subway seat would be better than eating the sandwich.

In fact, they weren’t the only ones who tried it.

Gordon Ramsay in particular also didn’t quite like it, saying “Wow. That would give me (a not-too-pleasant gastrointestinal situation) for three weeks.”

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“Throw it away and start again. I would not be eating (expletive) banana and mayonnaise, no. Whatever Muppet put those two together needs to clean their core. Dale Jr. needs to call me.”

The whole banana mayo thing got so much traction that Dale Earnhardt decided to turn this into a fundraiser for Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit organization that aims to feed the less fortunate school children in the United States.

Regardless of what you think of the combination, this later went on to raise…

Nearly US$160,000.

It’s a real thing in Southern regions of the United States in the past

You could still be in disbelief that anyone could have eaten such a disgusting abomination of a sandwich — but let’s look at this a little further without any prejudice. The banana mayo sandwich gets at least enough fans to have a Facebook page with 1,200 likes.

Mayonnaise itself is made with eggs, oil, and vinegar. Just looking at it this way, the combination doesn’t sound very gross, doesn’t it? Bananas and pancakes are good together. Pancakes use eggs.

But know that the recipe calls to go light on the mayo; just a thin layer will do.

Digging a little deeper, the sandwich is also linked to a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. Those 2 ingredients in particular, according to Garden and Gun, were staples during the Great Depression and the following years (about 1930s to the 1960s from newspaper clippings). Apparently, mayonnaise was added to smoothen out peanut butter then, while also serving as a calorie-rich meal.

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Here’s an instance of the peanut butter and mayo sandwich appearing in a Skippy and Hellman’s ad:

Credit: Skippy and Hellman’s

If you’re interested in how the rest of the combination tastes, BuzzFeed did an article trying out things on the ad (they weren’t good by modern tastes).

Erin Hatcher, director of marketing for the C.F. Sauer Company, which makes Duke’s mayonnaise, told HuffPost that peanut butter, bananas, mayonnaise, and bread was a way of getting protein, fat and some carbs. She also confirms that peanut butter used to be coarser.

What I infer from the above, is that people who like this sandwich are likely to have eaten this sometime before in the past. This means people who lived through the Great Depression and had to rely on the sandwich or children of those people who ate the sandwich from time to time.

And then I tried it

As the recipe suggested, I tried it with a very thin layer of mayonnaise.

Though, instead of trying it with lengthwise bananas, I decided to go with banana coins.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t that opposed to the sandwich. I think having a thin layer instead of the mayonnaise being a huge squirt helps. It adds a little tang to the bananas. As long as you aren’t adding enough mayonnaise that you feel like you’re eating a mayonnaise sandwich, I think just a touch of mayonnaise might turn out to be quite an interesting flavor for some.

In a way, I think this serves as kind of like a cake. But instead of cake, you get bread. Instead of cream, you get mayonnaise.

A lot of people will probably get turned off by the texture; since mayonnaise and bananas are both mushy or squishy in texture.

Those who tried it probably made the mistake of adding too much mayonnaise. Although that might be the point, I don’t know.

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