Cards Against Humanity is more than just a popular party game. Over its decade of existence, the company behind the game has gained viral fame for its publicity stunts, specifically the ones designed around Black Friday. While there’s pressure to outdo itself every year, the company’s 2022 release is just as ridiculous (and edible) as ever: Clam-O-Naise.
As Cards Against Humanity explains, it all started in October of 2021, when the game company paid tens of thousands of people $5 each to troll Hellmann’s on Twitter, asking it to bring back a clam-flavored mayonnaise that never existed to begin with. Now, courtesy of Cards, Claim-O-Naise is a real thing.
In partnership with a condiment manufacturing company, Cards Against Humanity released an actual clam-flavored mayonnaise for this year’s stunt. It’s available online or in-person at Target—although you’ll find it in the game section rather than the grocery aisle. Since I’m a lover of potentially horrendous food, I decided to tackle a Clam-O-Naise taste test on behalf of our readers. (You’re welcome.)
There’s so much to unpack here, literally, that I’m not even sure where to begin. When you first open the jar of Clam-O-Naise, a product name I will never tire of saying out loud, there is a prize pack inside that you’ll have to retrieve from under the surface of the mayonnaise. I used a pair of chopsticks to partially fish it out, then used my fingers to remove it entirely, a process I’m still replaying in my head. I then rinsed off the prize, yet another process that, unfortunately, will be forever imprinted in my memory.
Inside the prize pack is a vacuum-sealed pack of 30 Cards Against Humanity playing cards that you can add to your existing deck, if you have one. One of the cards contains a QR code that you can scan to check whether you’ve won an additional prize.
Those additional prizes include, among other things, branded Clam-O-Naise merch, vacations, or even a car, which is described as a “one-of-a-kind Toyota Clamry.”
My prize? An actual pearl, which will be mailed to me in a few weeks. Knowing Cards Against Humanity, I won’t be making any assumptions about what the pearl might be. Maybe it’ll be the tiniest pearl I’ve ever seen, or something.
Clam-O-Naise is inspired by a classic clam dish, clams casino, which contains butter, garlic, bacon, white wine, lemon, and, of course, clams on the half shell. As such, the novelty mayo spread contains clam juice concentrate and clam base, along with mustard, garlic, onion powder, lemon juice concentrate, and bacon flavoring.
I know some of you are involuntarily shuddering right now. Mayo freaks people out already, but mayo with clams? What the fuck? Honestly, the concept is almost the entire gag. On paper that sounds potentially traumatizing, but you have to remember, clam juice (or base) is already in stuff you probably enjoy, like Clamato, a tomato and clam juice product used to make micheladas. Clam flavoring has a primarily briny, umami taste. It’s fine, everyone. Relax.
I tried some Clam-O-Naise by itself on a spoon. Rather than being particularly clammy, it’s more tangy and savory than anything else. Though the clam juice concentrate is high up on the ingredients list, it doesn’t particularly stand out much, aside from its scent. If anything, it adds sort of an MSG note, but it’s not distracting, nor is it gross.
Honestly, it’s totally fine by itself. My main gripe would be that it’s pretty thin in consistency—a little runny, which isn’t how I typically like my mayonnaise. But if it weren’t, you’d probably have a really terrible time fishing out your QR code for a potential Toyota Clamry. You win some, you lose some.
The Clam-O-Naise website offers a few recipes and serving suggestions, one of which is a simple turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich on toasted white bread. Other recipes include a wedge salad, a fried chicken sandwich, and the aforementioned clams casino.
I’m happy to report that turkey and Swiss on toast is an excellent use for Clam-O-Naise. Again, the overall clamminess doesn’t stand out, but the tanginess does, so it’s a good one-and-done condiment that does a lot of heavy lifting. No need for mustard or anything extra. It costs $9.99 for a 22-ounce jar, which isn’t a terrible price for a novelty condiment. I’ve seen hot sauces that cost more. (Plus, I’m willing to bed it’s one of the cheaper things you’ll find the game aisle at Target.)
I figured something with this much flavor could be useful in recipes beyond the ones listed on Cards Against Humanity’s website, so I whipped up a quick recipe for a dipping sauce, using Clam-O-Naise to evoke the flavors of a michelada. This concoction would make a great salad dressing, a secret sauce for a burger, a topper for fish tacos, or a dipping sauce for shrimp.
Plus you can brag and tell people you made a sauce with exclusive, prize-dispensing mayonnaise. I’m guessing nobody will believe you.
- 1 cup Clam-O-Naise
- 1/4 cup cocktail sauce or ketchup
- 1 tsp. Tajin
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 dash soy sauce
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
Mix all ingredients together. Serve as a sandwich condiment, a taco sauce, or a dip—just don’t spill any on your brand-new Clamry.