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Very Serious comes out four times a week (sometimes five): politics and economics essays on Tuesday and Friday; reader mail answered in the Mayonnaise Clinic every Wednesday; a new podcast every Thursday; and occasional weekend issues about food, entertaining, travel and lifestyle.

Wait, why is it called the “Mayonnaise Clinic”?

It’s a fair question. If you’re not familiar, I wrote a seminal piece on mayonnaise back in 2018 for Insider, titled “You Like Mayonnaise.” The point of the piece is not so much that mayonnaise is good — though it is — but that your revealed preference is for mayonnaise, even if you protest otherwise. Mayonnaise is in and on everything. Sometimes it’s mixed with other foods and you call it “salad.” Sometimes it’s flavored and you call it “aïoli.” In any case, you eat it, and therefore you like it.

These are the levels of self-knowledge I hope to help us all reach in this weekly mailbag (mail-jar) column. We’re learning, together.

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Very Serious is edited by Sara Fay. To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.