Through some cosmic fluke, I have wound up living in the South. I've never really taken much notice of Southern culinary traditions, but always regarded them as close relatives to a substance you might find near a nuclear explosion.
For example, the local Waffle House. As a frequent visitor to this fine establishment, I have often ordered a plate that comes with grits. This always prompts me to say "No grits, please" when I order, because I strongly believe that grits are a direct descendant of cement and Satan. But according to Waffle House law, I still receive a steaming hot pile that is suspiciously leaking into my hash browns and looks as if it'll go after my coffee next. The first time I ventured to try grits, I swallowed the grainy substance and swore never again to come near a plate of the quirky stuff. I hastily banished the hellish creature to my friend's plate (much to my companion's objections). Needless to say, I don't enjoy grits.
Soon after, I encountered another Southern tradition: coleslaw. Yet another seeping, breathing, freakish mass that was trying to invade the rest of the picnic table! May I interject here that I was attending another Southern tradition I abhor: the barbecue. I've made it a rule that the only thing that should have mayonnaise on it is a deli sandwich, so if it has mayonnaise and doesn't include bread, I try my best to stay as far away as possible. But feeling adventurous, I heaped a scary spoonful onto my plastic plate and sat down to gather my courage. After swatting away a mosquito that was roughly the size of my dog, I ate a spoonful. I swiftly realized that I have my mayonnaise theories for a reason. Anything with that much mayonnaise is not to be trusted. That, and coleslaw is not an inviting name. Anything with slaw in the name you should be wary of. Heed my words! Mayonnaise is the work of the devil.
However, I did not learn my lesson. It took me no time at all to find another Southern delicacy I could risk my life on. The next bio experiment on the menu is called potato salad. Don't let an innocent name like that deceive you. Yet again, mayonnaise was the culprit, and somehow I still had not learned my lesson. Actually, I had learned my lesson and was waiting for my restraining order to go through against mayonnaise, but I tried it to please the cook. I found that this dish is by far the most disgusting and dangerous of them all. I offered its creator a weak smile and headed toward the bathroom where I could suffer in private. Soon after, I was rushed to the local hospital where I was treated for an overdose of mayonnaise. Okay, not really. But it was a close call. And the worst part is that they could corrupt and defile such a wonderful food as the potato. It was a sad day for potato fans everywhere.
From these experiences, I think we can safely say that I should avoid mayonnaise at all costs, and anything that is the spawn of Satan and cement. But you may ask, have I learned my lesson? I think we can safely say that I will never touch another Southern delicacy again. Quick. Give me your plate. The grits are creeping into my eggs.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.