Asking for mayo is something that happens the vast majority of times I go for a meal out. Asking for such a basic accompaniment to my meal doesn’t always leave me certain as to what I will receive.
Some places leave bottles of sauce on the table at all times. A part of me wants to view this as the safe option, the sauce is there, no need to ask, no wait. Then there is the issue of the previous customer, in a location where tables change hands quickly the lids of sauces aren’t always cleaned away. This can leave you with a sticky mess on opening. Or you might have followed a customer who has used the last of the mayo. This means you are back to waiting for the sauce from a waitress or left to pinch it from the next door table, hardly the ideal solution. Or worse still, you have a glass bottle and no matter how much you shake it and tap it, no sauce comes. Then you have to scrap it out with your knife. Just extra faff when you want to dive into your meal.
Other establishments opt to bring you sauce, this can be in a bottle, sachet or jar. Bottles are usually safer this way as a check can be done for their fullness, although I was recently the lucky customer to get a brand new bottle, seal and all.
Sachets. In what world are these convenient? Firstly, you need around 5 sachets to get any reasonable amount of sauce. Not really ideal. Some of them come with a really useful opening – which is practically impossible to use. This leaves you with a dilemma. Try a different sachet in the hope this is just a bad one, rip it open with your teeth, or attack it with a knife. Changing to a new sachet can sometimes result in an opening, but this is probably more luck than judgement. Ripping with your teeth potentially more suitable, but not feasible is helping a friend get into their sauce. So a knife seems like a safe bet, but then you could end up making some budget horror scene films.
Then there are the places that are or try to be posh. They use their poor staff to put their sauces in individual pots. Some are larger than others. Some are like the small jam jars you get with a fancy breakfast, others are more like ramekins in size. A part of me wants to appreciate the effort taken to present sauce in this way. But the miserable voice in my head can’t help but think what about the waste. It is rare to be given a pot of sauce where you completely polish off what is offered. This leads to sauce being wasted. Admittedly not a huge amount. But what about those places that bring you a burger sauce with your meal and then you ask for a different sauce and end up wasting a bit of both. Furthermore, those little pots can come with a spoon. This leaves a dilemma. Are you supposed to spoon the sauce onto your plate to almost make it so the sauce can be topped up and sent out? Please don’t let this be okay with food hygiene. Or was it the spoon the waitress used to spoon out the sauce and hadn’t got the sink to hand so just put in the jar too.
I’m not entirely sure what the solution to this problem is. Maybe a diner who doesn’t need to add sauce to their meal! Or a sachet that has a larger content size such as twice that of the current standard and a zip lock style opening, or screw top to make getting into it easier. Especially with greasy fingers as you couldn’t resist a chip!