Why SG&M?

Why name your blog “Skinny Girls & Mayonnaise,” you may reasonably ask? Which leads me to a story that sums up why I decided to start a food blog in the first place. (NOT because I thought the world needed another.)

I live in the western part of Los Angeles, home to yoga studios and aspiring starlets. Over the years, rooming with skinny yoga students/aspiring starlets, dating skinny yoga students/aspiring starlets, chatting in coffee shops with skinny yoga students/aspiring starlets, I learned that they really liked quinoa and really hated mayonnaise. I really like mayonnaise. I think it’s the world’s greatest sauce. And I have serious reservations about quinoa. It’s the didgeridoo of grains. (Anyone who has seen a 40-year-old white guy playing a didgeridoo at a farmer’s market will understand what I mean…)

A favorite dish of mine is a Mexican corn on the cob β€” smeared with mayonnaise, a squeeze of lime, some chili powder, and grilled. I began to notice when we would have barbecue dinner parties, that the skinny girls would devour the corn with a fervor. “This is the best corn I’ve ever had!” they would say as they helped themselves to a second ear. “What did you do to it!?” And then I would drop the “m” bomb. And watch their faces go slack and gray. “M-m-mayonnaise???” they would murmur in horror. And I would explain that mayonnaise is not the Devil’s Condiment, nor would it prevent them from doing their sun salutations or making it to their auditions on time. Mayonnaise, I would say, is simply an emulsion of oil, vinegar and egg. The word “emulsion” would seem to put them at ease β€” they’d seen on a menu somewhere in relation to a salad.

Somewhere in a village in the South of Italy at this exact moment, an old man is dipping a freshly picked spear of asparagus into a garlicky aioli β€” a mayonnaise. And chasing it with a big sip of wine. He has never feared a mayonnaise, a roasted chunk of fatty pork from the pig raised on his land, the succulent flesh of a fish lifted earlier that morning from the ocean, or half a bottle of wine pressed from grapes that rose from this very terroir. He has lived to a ripe old age, without becoming obese or clogging his arteries. And he has enjoyed himself thoroughly. Until the advent of microwave ovens and Lean Cuisines, this is how the world had always eaten. This is the way we must eat again. Once, while doing a cooking demonstration for a publication that I served as editor for, I asked the great French chef Jacques Pepin what the most important advice he would have for the home cook would be. He said, “Open a bottle of wine, and enjoy yourself.” That, my friends, is what Skinny Girls & Mayonnaise is all about.

46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mathew Tekulsky
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 04:24:46

    Sean: Congratulations. I love the website and the video. You are a star!


  2. Don Goddard
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 13:07:37

    Hah! I love the title of your site. Great stuff inside, by the way. Now I’ve got something you need to post about. Mayonnaise in cake! My wife asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday and I said, “I don’t care, just as long as it is really moist.” This drove her nuts and I googled this same reply only to find that this was a really common story.

    It turns out there is a fantastic solution by using 1 cup of mayo in place of eggs and oil. My wife was grossed out as was my sister and even after they logically accepted why this would work they still couldn’t make it and are grossed out to this day. I guess I’ll have to get off my lazy ass and make THEM a cake like so and see what their reaction is. Hmm, do you think a cup of Aioli would work?!?


    • Kristin Swick
      Aug 23, 2010 @ 19:41:46

      The best chocolate cake I have ever had is an old recipe my grandmother had called “Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake”. And, yes, it does have mayonnaise. I have made it several times and learned early NOT to tell people the name. I have literally watched people spew it out once the name was mentioned.


  3. Heather Reed
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 17:36:18

    I owe it all to Sean…
    While I am still a Yoga teacher (and student!) – I am no longer a Vegetarian. I am an Omnivore. Thanks for converting me, I feel much better now. But I still like quinoa.


  4. g
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 17:49:45

    I’m with you on the didgeridoo.


  5. scolgin
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 18:16:39

    F%@#ing didgeridoos.


  6. Adela
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 18:32:01

    Hi Sean,

    My brother, Walter Hurni, sent me a link to your new website. Great beginning message. Funny you should mention mayonnaise.
    When I was a foreign-exchange student in Belgium, my Belgian “mom” made homemade mayonnaise. You see Belgians eat mayo with their “friten” (french fries). Oh my goodness, she was the BEST cook, and I had no idea that that was the way one made mayo. It was so simple and easy. Now her daughter runs her own restaurant in Bruges, Belgium. I can’t wait to visit! But for now, I will tune into your blog for current news on all things food in L.A.
    Best of luck to you with your new website!


    • scolgin
      Aug 22, 2010 @ 18:42:55

      Hi Adela, welcome to SG&M! You’re brother’s an old, old, old, old friend. (In fact, you probably saw me at your house 30 years ago!) Mayo and fries is one of the best combos on earth. MUCH better than ketchup! Thanks for tuning in, and all the best! Sean


  7. Lucia & Rick
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 19:36:49

    We can personally attest to the delicious menus created by Sean!! Congrats on such a brilliantly creative endeavor!!!


  8. Lisa Gaskin
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 00:52:22

    that aghast blonde in the cartoon above is Sean’s skinny big sister πŸ˜‰


  9. Justin Mitchell
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 03:30:12

    what’s with all the didge haters? Crickey!


  10. Tori Young
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 15:22:32

    Proud to be a skinny girl AND lover of mayonnaise. Keep writing Seanies and I’ll keep digesting every word (soon with a big glass of Italian red)! xo


  11. Leo Griffin
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 22:47:21

    Sean – your cooking is wonderful, and so is this site. Congratulations mate! I am looking forward to following your culinary adventures and to sharing some good food and wine again soon.


  12. Andrea Thompson
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 04:33:51

    I have ALWAYS been a fan of mayonnaise. I never found a reason to abandon it! Like Sean says….it’s innocent! Like anything else….in moderation!! Sean, your blog rocks!!


  13. Susie McCobb
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 19:38:00

    Philip introduced me to mayo & fries (w/ketchup and tobasco) and is always on a quest to find a really good frites sauce (from living in the Hague). Love your blog, Sean! Love to Leslie & the kids!


    • scolgin
      Sep 14, 2010 @ 19:43:45

      Hi Susie! Nice to see you here! I’ve been following Philip’s t-shirt blog, but he NEVER updates it! Glad you’re enjoying SG&M! Yep, mayo and good fries is the best. The Euros are smart about mayo. I like fries with bleu cheese dressing, too. Hugs to you all! xo//s


  14. ReadersHeaven
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 12:51:37

    Hi, nice to meet you !


  15. JJ
    Jan 23, 2011 @ 04:27:22

    I’ve ordered a few Mexican corn on the cob and I always ask not to add the mayo. I once forgot to ask and I couldn’t eat it with all that gobs of mayo.


  16. Dr Charles Parker
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 13:53:16

    Just loaded your beautiful site into my favs and look forward to your further hypnotic food and writing gems out here – love this layout – at once deceptively casual and yet seriously transcendent! Most fun: meeting your wonderful, refreshing family – Thanks sooo much for our conversation-time together and your sumptuous repast last night. Food, friends and belated fireworks – a sweet summer balm!


    • scolgin
      Jul 05, 2011 @ 14:49:09

      Hey Chuck, thanks for your kind words β€” great to spend the holiday with you guys. We love your son, grandsons and daughter-in-law, and it was wonderful to meet you guys. Hope we can see you again when you come out in September, maybe for a proper dinner down at our place. ; ) Enjoy the rest of your trip and have a safe trip back!


  17. a toast and tea
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 02:38:25

    I totally agree with your food philosophy! I tried quinoa once and found it to be vile. I look forward to reading more of your blog!


    • scolgin
      Jan 13, 2012 @ 02:44:16

      Thanks “Toast”!! LOL I just glanced at your blog and likewise, like the philosophy. Look forward to a beautiful virtual food relationship! πŸ˜‰


  18. glutenfreepeach
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 11:17:17

    Haha love it! I always like to seize the moment, keeping in mind the women who waved away the dessert cart on the Titanic. I know mayo is 10,000cals per tablespoon, but I’ll put a little on my plate occasionally, although not too much because I still want to be slim. Food is great in moderation and not worth missing out on for anything πŸ˜€


  19. russianmartini
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 18:35:02

    You know, I was also hesitant to use mayo when I first started cooking, then I realized it’s impossible to avoid it when trying to make Russian food – Russians love their mayo. In salads, on top of fish or meat, rolled inside an eggplant, etc.


  20. Holly
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 15:54:49

    Fab anecdotal intro! Nice new find to start my year!


  21. janderoo92
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 22:23:26

    A great mayo manifesto. I’m in! I made a point not to have resolutions this New Year *except* I have to keep a leftover promise to try making mayonnaise from scratch for the first time. Inspired by Tamar Adler’s book – An Everlasting Meal – she’s also a champion of mayo – the real stuff.


  22. Trackback: Granola Bars vs White Bean Blondies: Not much of a battle | Attempts in Domesticity
  23. Sally
    May 17, 2014 @ 10:17:06

    Yes. Just yes.


  24. Melissa Flynn
    Aug 05, 2014 @ 04:52:52

    Wonderful blog, Sean! I love the explanation of SG&M! I too love mayonnaise. You are awesome!


  25. Χ¦ΧžΧ™Χ’
    Sep 24, 2014 @ 10:58:57

    I think the admin of this web page is actually working hard in support
    of his website, as here every stuff is quality based material.


  26. delilahpierce
    Sep 26, 2014 @ 13:08:48

    I love the story behind this blog! I will definitely be trying out these recipes πŸ™‚


  27. Yinzerella
    Dec 12, 2014 @ 18:30:55

    Mayo = awesome. The only thing awesome that was done with Quinoa is that video of David Lynch prepping some.


    • scolgin
      Dec 12, 2014 @ 18:42:09

      You won’t find quinoa in any 1972 cookbooks, will you… I think it was created in a lab as part of the Peruvian’s world domination strategy. (You think I’m kidding!?? The Peruvians put on this peaceful agrarian alpaca-poncho pan pipe-playing faΓ§ade, but they’re pure evil…) I haven’t seen the David Lynch bit, I’ll have to look for it.


  28. Angie
    Jan 09, 2019 @ 20:28:21

    A few years ago; 2013 I suspect. I was at a party in Gurneville Ca at the home of Bruce Patch and a lovely lady ( your mom) told me about this blog Thank you for your time & insights into food.


    • scolgin
      Jan 09, 2019 @ 20:32:57

      Yes Angie, that was my mother, Andrea Cleall, a noted Sonoma artist. Thank you for your kind words, I hope you enjoy the blog. I’ve been a bit remiss about posting regularly the past year, hoping the rectify that problem this year. (A resolution of sorts, I guess.) Happy New Year and all the best to you. //s


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