Duke's History - A True Southern Original
The South has its share of true originals. By that, we mean quirky, eccentric characters who add color to their local communities. We have people who are crazy for college football, people who are crazy for NASCAR racing, and people who are crazy for whole-hog barbecue. And then there are those people who are crazy for Duke's - Duke's Mayonnaise, that is. Most of the time, fans of Duke's Mayonnaise live quietly among us. The only way to identify them is to sneak a peek inside their refrigerators. But ask them if they'd like a tomato sandwich, and they're likely to show their true colors - the yellow and black of the Duke's Mayonnaise label. For thousands of people around the South, there is no other mayonnaise but Duke's. "I love Duke's Mayonnaise," says food writer, cookbook author, and culinary television producer Virginia Willis of Atlanta, Georgia. "That's the best part of a BLT," she adds, "the creamy, yummy mayonnaise." She uses Duke's Mayonnaise when she tests recipes for her culinary clients because it gives her consistent results. Duke's, she points out, is a little more acidic, a little more zesty than other brands. "And that little bit of acid really makes flavors pop." "For me, it's got to be homemade or Duke's," she says.
A Uniquely Southern Recipe
Almost a century after Eugenia Duke created her unique mayonnaise recipe, Duke's is still made in Greenville, South Carolina. Mrs. Duke's kitchen has been replaced by a modern production facility that turns out 240 jars of mayonnaise a minute, but the recipe for Duke's Mayonnaise has remained the same. "We've never changed the formula," explains Mark Sauer, Executive Vice President of Sales for C. F. Sauer and great-grandson of Conrad Sauer, Sr., "not since Duke's time." Duke's, he says, is a uniquely Southern product. "It was developed at a time when the South was still a distinctive place with a distinctive taste. And that hasn't changed." The formula for Duke's includes more egg yolks than other brands of mayonnaise, he points out. It also has no added sugar. (It's the only major brand of mayonnaise that can make that claim.) That combination gives the mayonnaise a tanginess Duke's fans have come to love.
Until recently, Duke's market area has included Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. However, in the past few years, Duke's has expanded into Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Texas and Missouri. Fans of Duke's Mayonnaise may also purchase their favorite spread online at Duke's Company Store. Soon, people all over the country will be crazy for this true Southern original.
Excerpts courtesy of Betty Terry from "Taste of the South" Spring 2007
Duke's: A Legacy of Flavor
The legacy of Duke's began nearly a century ago in 1917 during WWI when Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina spread her homemade mayonnaise on sandwiches she sold to soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Sevier. Her sandwiches and the mayonnaise that gave them their special flavor, became so popular that soldiers wrote to Eugenia requesting her recipe. Eugenia also sold sandwiches in drugstores and eventually, a local grocer agreed to take a few bottles of her mayonnaise on consignment. The volume of orders continued growing until she progressed from operating out of her kitchen to a separate outbuilding on her property.
Eugenia finally invested in a delivery truck on the day that she sold her eleven thousandth sandwich.
Eventually, Eugenia gave up sandwich-making to concentrate on selling Duke's Mayonnaise full-time. In 1929, The C.F. Sauer Company, another Southern original, purchased Duke's and pledged to maintain the family recipe. The company also hired Eugenia as its chief salesperson.
Today, Duke's is a Southern staple prized for its homemade taste. Original Duke's Mayonnaise is joined by new varieties, Duke's Light Mayonnaise and Duke's Light Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. Duke's also produces Duke's Tartar Sauce and Duke's Sandwich Relish.
Duke's Brand Manager
The C.F. Sauer Company