When I first saw a picture of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s disgusting mayonnaise and banana sandwich, it made me so angry that I retweeted it with a few choice profanities. As the day wore on, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about this sandwich. Nobody, nobody on Earth would eat a sandwich that sounds as disgusting as this one unless it was actually good.
Which made me intensely curios about the taste. And since I consider myself to be an adventurous eater, I wanted to try it.
Like Junior, I’m a proud Southerner. Apparently, the combination of peanut butter, mayonnaise, and bananas on white bread was a cheap, survival staple. I called my grandmother, who grew up poor in the Appalachian mountains, and asked if she’d ever eaten a banana, peanut butter, and mayonnaise sandwich. No — she preferred the other strange Southern mixture of cornbread and buttermilk — but, she said, my step-grandfather STILL eats peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.
I realized I had all the ingredients for this thing, and there was nothing but fear and doubt stopping me from eating this sandwich. So, I resolved to make it. With Hellman’s mayonnaise, as Junior prefers.
Now, I normally don’t eat white bread. I’m one of those annoying “real food” people who prefers Sprouted Ezekiel Grain Bread. So plain, soft, white sandwich bread is definitely a departure from my norm. I also don’t normally put mayonnaise on my sandwiches. In fact, all of this entire sandwich is something I normally wouldn’t eat. This is the whitest sandwich I’ve ever eaten, both in context of color and the sort of people who would actually eat this sort of thing.
But I made it, hopefully, in the same exact way that Earnhardt, Jr. and hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions?) of others have eaten it.
For all the terror in my heart about the consumption of said sandwich, the worst part wasn’t the taste. It was the texture. Dear lord, the texture. The glutenous, chewy white bread sinking into the mayonnaise-moistened bananas that lay heavy in the sandwich. Perhaps this is a strange complaint, but it was almost TOO soft of a bite. There was no resistance in it whatsoever.
But yes, let’s talk about the taste, too. I don’t know what to say. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s not like the mayonnaise made the bananas taste worse. Was it good? OF COURSE NOT. I will literally never make this sandwich again. It’s a waste of bananas. If I wanted bananas that were creamier and wetter (let the jokes begin) I’d eat one-ingredient banana ice cream.
However, I challenged myself to eat another sandwich, this time with peanut butter. Because if it’s good enough for Elvis and the poor South, it’s good enough for me. I’m not here to be a food snob. Besides, I LOVE peanut butter. Without exception, it’s my favorite flavor and ingredient, maybe even more than chocolate–though don’t bring out King Solomon and make me choose. #deepoldtestamentreference
Since the first sandwich wasn’t *that bad* in taste, I assumed that peanut butter would only make things better. In this sandwich, since I wasn’t going for pure Earnhardt, Jr. authenticity, I sliced the bananas horizontally, as God intended, for better coverage of the bread and a more even sandwich weight. I tried to add more peanut butter than mayonnaise, because I truly believe that peanut butter is the greatest food invention of all time.
My trepidation was nearly gone when I went to take a bite of this sandwich, but I was terribly wrong.
The textural problems of the first sandwich were there and more, but let the following phrase infiltrate your psyche: “sour peanut butter.” Because that’s EXACTLY what I was tasting here. Did the properly sliced bananas help? No, they didn’t. Screw you, bananas. You’re supposed to add sweetness and creaminess to everything you touch, and you didn’t help at all.
I was most disappointed in my beloved peanut butter. The strong peanutty flavor didn’t counteract the mayonnaise. The two blended together in an obnoxiously disgusting union. The mayonnaise, which barely made a flavor dent in the plain banana and mayonnaise sandwich, was somehow even more pronounced now.
So I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this sandwich to anyone, with one exception: small children. I obviously couldn’t finish these sandwiches, so what did I do with them? Gave them to my two kids, aged five and two. They gobbled them up like they were candy, to my disgust. I have since disowned them.
In summary: Do not take sandwich recommendations from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.