Armand de Vignerot du Plessis (1696-1788), Duke de Richeleiu, soldier, Cellamare conspirator, philanderer, and thief, watched with smug satisfaction as British troops marched from Port Mahon.
Under the command of Lieutenant-General William Blakeney (1671-1761) the British had defended the city, which they called Fort Saint Philip, with honor and were allowed to retreat unmolested from the island. Blakeney would later be named the first Baron Blakeney for his actions in this early European engagement of what was to be known as The Seven Years War. Vice Admiral John Byng (1704-an abrupt 1757), the man in charge of the failed attempt to reinforce the British garrison, would be court-marshalled, found wanting, and executed by firing squad.
No matter the fate of the British officers involved in the battle, the day belonged to Richeleiu. He commissioned a celebratory dinner. His chef, having no cream for a sauce at hand, became desperate. Flailing about aimlessly he threw together whatever was at hand to come up with something, anything, to serve for dinner. He must have known that the final product he served was wretched, but he had neither time nor resources to correct his failure. So at the table of a criminal minded traitorous Duke within wafting distance of the yet unburied corpses of fallen soldiers, the air redolent of death and gunpowder*, humanity was first forced to endure sauce Mahon, or as we know it today, Mayonnaise. Continue reading