Strunk & White Liked Short & Simple

By Jack Limpert

Hellmann’s mayonnaise was in the news today—Hellmann’s is suing a competitor that is calling its eggless spread “mayo.” The legal battle attracted a little media attention when Jack Shafer tweeted about “The Fight for Mayo Equality.”

Hellmann’s has made good mayonnaise for a long time. “In 1905,” says Wikipedia, “Richard Hellmann opened a delicatessen on Columbus Avenue in New York City, where he used his wife’s recipe to sell the first ready-made mayonnaise. It was so successful that Hellmann closed his delicatessen by 1917 to devote full-time to his mayonnaise business.”

At our house we’ve always made sandwiches with Hellmann’s and I always look at the jar with some nostalgia. For many years the Hellmann’s jar told customers “Keep cool but do not freeze”—wonderful advice for everyone from chefs to athletes to journalists.

Now the jar says: “Refrigerate after opening and store in the refrigerator door. Do not freeze.”

It still tastes good but  it’s not the same.


  1. The current labeling on a healthier version of the original mayonaisse, Hellmann’s Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonaisse, has a mix of the two examples given above, simply reading: “Refrigerate after opening. Do not freeze.”

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