DUKE’S DEVOTEES: There is no fiercer allegiance than the relationship that Richmonders have to Duke’s Mayonnaise.

There are few things that Southerners take more seriously than food. Combined with an almost fanatical dedication to the most iconic ingredients to exist below the Mason-Dixon line, it is no wonder that tattoos featuring Duke’s Mayo are becoming as commonplace as barbed-wire tattoos were in the ‘90s.

Tattoos have existed for thousands of years and it is clear that people get them for all sorts of reasons, from the banal to the sentimental. For example, chefs with delicate sprigs of microgreens and knives have become almost a prerequisite for working in a kitchen. The phenomenon has expanded from restaurants to the general public, which makes sense, as the bond between food and memory speaks to everyone, regardless of profession.

According to the Duke’s Mayonnaise website, founder Eugenia Duke began selling sandwiches with her homemade mayonnaise to soldiers in 1917 at Fort Sevier just outside of Greenville, South Carolina. Three years later, she was selling her sandwiches in drugstores and grocery stores in the area. By 1929, her mayonnaise was so popular that she could no longer handle the demand for the condiment, so she sold the business to the C.F. Sauer Company in Richmond, where it became the company’s flagship product.

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