All Hail Mayonnaise

And just in case anyone thinks I couldn’t do it, here’s a piece I did in 1999, in which I crowned mayonnaise as the Condiment of the Millenium:

Mayonnaise. What, you thought I was going to give it to catsup? Catsup is vile stuff, I tell you — originally made from fish brine. Yes, fish water. Enjoythat on your fries. These days in America catsup refers exclusively to the tomato variety (thus the lame “Isn’t ‘tomato catsup’ redundant?” crack from the ill-educated posing as the ironic), but in the rest of the world, you’ll find catsups made from mushrooms, oysters and unripened walnuts. And here you thought catsup couldn’t get any worse.

Well, okay, you say, but maynonnaise isn’t any better. Off-white and pasty, it’s an ill-flavored goo that’s somehow managed to nudge its way into our food supply. Its provenance is unreliable; most of us know it’s made from eggs, but we couldn’t tell you the process, except to suggest that the eggs that are used to make mayo are being karmically punished.This is what you get for carrying salmonella in the last life.

And then there’s the consistency: Not quite a liquid and not quite a solid. It’s like humiliated gelatin. There’s actually a scientific word for materials in this state — thixotropic — and mayonnaise shares this state with quicksand and drilling mud. And you wouldn’t want to put either of those on your sandwich.

Granted. Mayonnaise can be a horrifying concoction. With the possible exception of headcheese (the normally discarded parts of animal carcasses, suspended in their own disturbingly sinewy aspic — big in Scandanavia, which goes to explain the unusually high suicide rate) there is no single foodstuff as nauseating as warm mayonnaise. My gag reflex goes to DEFCON 3 just thinking about it.

And yet. Mayonnaise has a secret — indeed even noble — past. Like Eastern European royalty, ejected from their palaces by the glorious peoples’ revolution and forced to live the remainder of their lives in genteel poverty in a New York hotel, hocking their jewels headpiece by brooch, their princelings attending — the horror! — public schools, mayonnaise has come far, far down in the world. There was a moment, not entirely shrouded in the mists of time, when mayonnaise was a celebrated sauce, and not just some glop designed to ease sandwiches through peristaltic motion.

The time was 1756. The place: Mahon, a city on the Spanish island of Minorca. The occasion: The capture of the city by the forces of Louis-Francois-Armad de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu, and the expulsion of the hated English from that place (what were the English doing on a Spanish island? Hey, it’s Europe). After a hard day beating the crap out of the English, Louis decided it was time to celebrate and ordered his chef to whip up a feast.

The chef decided to make a cream sauce for the meats he was making, but then discovered, to his horror, that there was no cream to be found. Sacre bleu! Showing the improvisatory spirit that can only be brought on by sheer panic, the chef grabbed some eggs and some vegetable oil, put them together, grabbed a wisk, and begun to pray. The result: Mayonnaise, named for the captured city.You decide whether God truly answered that prayer.

The French, perversely, celebrated the discovery, and used it for the basis of a number of sauces and dishes. Mayonnaise verte, with puréed green herbs. Sauce rémoulade, with anchovies, pickles, and capers. Chaud-froid, created when mayo meets aspic. Sauce aoli from Provençal, where the secret ingredient is garlic — and love! It was the taste for aristocratic palates — at least until those palates were severed from the rest of the digestive system during the French Revolution.

Mind you, even today, you can still find mayonnaise used for its first and most elevated purposes. But those moments are few and far between. Most mayonnaise will suffer a far more prosaic fate. Some will be tarted up as a salad dressing, perhaps Russian (so named because the first versions featured caviar), or Green Goddess. It’s like mayonnaise in drag. There’s no shame in it, though, and at least it’s far better than being slathered on a Whopper somewhere on Interstate 10, where your fate is to be consumed in wolfing bites by a speed-ragged trucker who would think that Chaud-froid is that penis-envy dude, were he to think of it at all. Which he wouldn’t.

Oh, yes, mayonnaise has pride. You think of it only as a thick, gummy paste designed to hold your Wonder Bread in place, but it’s known better days. It was meant for finer things than to be a Belgian dipping sauce for french fries (really, what the hell is wrong with those Belgians?). It is painfully aware that adding a dash of paprika during a late stage of processing does not, in fact, make it a “mirace whip.”

And yet, it suffers in silence, accepting your derision. It knows it’s not your fault. The American educational system has no place for the secret history of mayonnaise. It’s accepted its fate with dignity. Mayonnaise does not weep for what could have, should have been. It’s happy just to do its job, quietly. Go ahead and use it in your macaroni salad. Sure, it’s no lobster mayonnaise. But beggers can’t be choosers.

94 Comments on “All Hail Mayonnaise”

  1. What’s your take on hollandaise? (A basic mayo variant using melted butter in lieu of vegetable oil.) Wish I could be your history consultant. This sounds like a fun project!

  2. “mirace whip”?

    Just curious. I’ll be in the corning dipping my fried potatoes into ketchup.

  3. While I appreciate the deprecation of ketchup (even spelling it in a silly way that doesn’t reflect its pronunciation), I must stand up for the Belgians (who actually invented that whole fine-sliced fried tater thing). Not in basic mayo on the fries, for that is indeed disgusting, but in using the noble mayo as a base for more interesting sauces, like garlic, or orange, or any of the wondrous dipping sauces you get at your gourmet fry joints.

    (And if you don’t have gourmet fry joints near you, you should probably move.)

    The secret ingredient in so-called “Miracle” Whip isn’t paprika. It’s sugar. Or in the US, corn syrup. They take the perfectly good idea of mayo and ruin it with a ton of cheap sweetener so it’s only suitable for the palates of 3 year olds.

  4. I used to despise mayonnaise. I’d only ever encountered the cheap mass produced sort, slathered on sandwiches to make the dry ingredients(tuna or chicken, and mass produced bread, usually) seem moister.
    Then I found a restaurant that made the mayonnaise in-house and served it with their really wonderful house fries. I was almost converted.
    When I was going through chemotherapy, though, my taste buds were so out of whack and abused by the chemicals that were intended to save me that I could not eat many things that I used to love. Chocolate was denied me as it tasted horrible while I was on chemo. Any amount of pepper or hot sauce at ALL scorched my mouth. Ketchup was borderline.
    Mayonnaise tasted wonderful! I could not believe it, but, it was true. I was happy to find anything that tasted good to me, so we ended up at that restaurant eating fries with mayo often.
    My taste buds are back to normal now(hallelujah! Seriously.). However, that particular mayonnaise at that particular restaurant I still enjoy.

  5. [Sad little man trying to mock me for writing about mayonnaise, not realizing that I sold this very article — and several articles just like it — to publishers for very tidy sums, thereby rending his attempted mockery hollow and stupid, deleted – JS]

  6. Ho ho ho! Someone tried to troll with the actual username of “Alpha”? Sir (or Madam) I now associate you with the television show “Alphas”, for which I apologize.

    On-topic: I’d read this. This is also exactly the kind of intriguing well-written non-fiction that I buy for my otherwise-impossible-to-shop-for Father on every occasion.

  7. You’ve not lived until you’ve eaten fresh chips (you might call them fries) dipped in mayonnaise from The Mannekin Pis on Grandcentralstraat in Amsterdam. Yum!

  8. Ahh yes. Mayonnaise (the real stuff, not some whip) on a Spam and Velveeta sandwich. Lunch of the gods.

    (And for the poor soul who had to ask, ketchup and catsup are two different but similar things. Those who can’t taste the difference should be pitied, not mocked.)

  9. By the way: Anything that ketchup is used for is improved by substituting Dat’l Do It hot sauce. Not hot, in fact; just a superior ketchup. But really superior.

  10. Point of pedantry: Nothing is “from Provencal”. Provencal means from Provence, which is a region of southern France.

    (Yes, I’m missing off the cedilla. Mobile phone keyboard plus laziness.)

  11. Allow me my moment of pendantry (this isn’t illegal is most countries – you dirty minded …)
    Mayonnaise isn’t thixotropic, catsup is. Mayonnaise is a colloid, which is essentially a permanent suspension (I had some students like that when I was a teacher). A thixotropic liquid changes it’s state rapidly under stress. So, when you hit the bottom of the catsup bottle, you change the viscosity of the liquid and allow it to run more easily.

    As to headcheese, it’s popular in more than just Scandinavia. Back in the day (i.e. before 1950) it was popular everywhere.I’ve seen French, German, British etc recipes. My grandmother made her own headcheese. These days the “normally discarded parts” are just ground very finely and put into Bologna or Hot Dogs.

  12. Oh and for what it’s worth, an Aioli uses potato as an emulsifier rather than egg yolks. Most of the aioli you find in restaurants are actually flavored mayonnaise.

  13. Thanks for the history lesson! I didn’t know that I wanted to know the origins of Mayonnaise, but now I feel more complete. In truth, that would be a fun book, especially if designed as an end table/ coffee table style book with plenty of historic photos.
    Have a good Wednesday!

  14. Oh, and the orignal Ke Tsiap is more closely related to Asian fish sauce (e.g. Nuc Mam) or Roman Garum. Worcestershire sauce is a Ke Tsiap because it based on fermented anchovies, with tamarind and various spices added.

  15. The injustice of history is that it took more than two centuries for mayonaise to meet its perfect destiny: chipotle. Mayo is the (near) perfect medium for bringing the smoky fruit of the noble capsicum pod to any number of foods.

    Especially fish tacos.

  16. Having had mayonnaise pizza (substituting for tomato products) and mayonnaise filled baked goods (substituting for custard or whipped cream) in Japan when I visited 20ish years ago, I object to this.

    It’s not good everywhere. It is not in fact a dessert topping, though it may be a floor wax.

  17. I’m trying to figure out where sparky got the idea that aioli was made with potatoes. no, it’s never made with potatoes, though it is frequently served with and delicious on potatoes. Having eaten it IN the south of France, having checked both Elizabeth David and Bon Appetit, I will take my oath that it is made with olive oil and eggs like any other mayonnaise, but with garlic added, hence the name, “ail” is French for garlic

  18. EYAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    FSM, but I hate mayonnaise.

  19. I admit to being one of those who, if I can’t get proper malt vinegar for my fries, will reach for mayonnaise next. If the mayonnaise is unacceptable (as it so often is), ketchup is permitted, but begrudgingly.

  20. Serendipitously (speaking of dips!) these were posted right next to each other.

    John, I am SO interested to know what you will do with green chile.

    I’m still waiting for your book about “101 Uses for a Spare Goat”.

    Each answers the other. Or, in one word, “cabritos.”

    Nom. Major noms. And John has all that grass where he could raise tender little kid goats, and a barbecue for them once they’re big enough.

    Just ask, John, and I’ll send you mesquite, chiles, and recipes.

  21. Thixotropic actually means that the viscocity changes as based on the speed with which you deform it, ie like cornstarch in water. Ketchup has thixotropic material properties.
    Mayonaise doesn’t display shear thickening or thinning, so it’s not really thixotropic.

  22. I think that mayonnaise being the condiment of the millenium is a tough sell. Personally, I’d have to give the laurel to butter, which became an important part of the European diet along with the adult lactase mutation. It allowed the development of an entire new form of agriculture, dairying, and increased available calories and therefore population density.

    You’d also have to dedicate a chapter to garum, although you might be able to get away with a single chapter for all anchovy/sardine based fish sauces. Garum was important to the development of Western philosophy, as the Greek philosophers generalized it into a term that meant “all things which are not necessary to life, but which make life worth living.” Still, you could possibly have one chapter that covered both garum and nuoc mam.

    Chutney has important ramifications for British colonialism.

    … yeah, this could be a good book.

  23. Wait, mayonnaise is named after Mahon? I’ve actually been there.

    I should tell Samantha but she hates mayonnaise so intensely that it might ruin her memory of visiting Menorca.

  24. My mother made mayonnaise from scratch, and taught us to make it — an egg, some oil, a lot of beating, a little time, et voila!! Heavenly. We pronounced it “My-onnaise”, because “May-onnaise” was the disgusting putrid slop that was sold in jars in the grocery store. My-onnaise is a different food altogether. It does not have the same flavour or texture as May-onnaise. It isn’t even the same colour.

    I only rarely make it these days, when I’m feeling desperately nostalgic for one of the key comfort foods of my childhood.

    The same goes for hollandaise, for that matter, except that it’s harder to make and takes longer. On the other hand, you cook hollandaise, so the salmonella question is moot. Both, alas, are pure concentrated high-fat high-calorie tasty goodness. Mmmm.

  25. Ya know, I knew there was a Majorca, but I somehow missed Minorca. I must have known this at one point (10th grade history final required me to freehand a map of Europe with labels), but that piece of info vanished somewhere in the intervening 15ish years. Huh.

  26. “These days in America catsup refers exclusively to the tomato variety”
    I’ve heard that peach ketchup is delicious, and could argue that apple butter is apple ketchup, but I wouldn’t believe me, much, because the spices in tomato catch up are too different from those in apple butter.
    It seems that their are two types of USA approved by a bureaucracy recipes. The boring ones, and the ones that have way to much acid and aren’t edible.
    Are good recipes, but you can’t buy them at a store as ketchup or catsup. IMO, salsa is almost a tomato catsup.

    @Sparky who had some, like, permanently suspended students. -Oh, yeah. What kind of rope did you use?

    No need to say anything about Ke Tsiap being fish sauce, not barbecue. And kudos to Sparky, for saying worcestershire sauce.

    @lumbercartel: Green chile goat. Yum, but I’d add cumin. :-)
    @lumbercartel: vis cabritos recipes. They look tasty, though some of them are just sloppie joes and pot roast. (To clarify? IMO a hambergur bun is white bread.)
    @lumbercartel vis “nom.”

    But back to mayo and mayonnaise. Kraft Fat Free Mayo with some butter flavor and a few other things is great between a small pancake and an over easy egg.
    Half M/Mnoise and tomato sauce with added spices is quite special.
    And if you are making your own mayonnaise add something like potassium sorbate to it. Just for killing bacteria.

  27. Ian, then you get into the question of “is butter a condiment or an ingredient?” Or, even, sometimes a main course. And a sculpture medium.

    Sometimes fusion cuisine works, as in chipotle mayo, where the oil and chili bring out the best in each other. What the Japanese have done with mayo, however, is entirely wrong and an abomination unto the Lord(s and Ladies and Transcendent Beings of Any or No Particular Gender).

  28. I don’t like to eat the stuff, but if you’re going to grill a swordfish steak a thin layer of mayo does a great job keeping it moist.

  29. If you squint, from a food science point of view, mayonnaise can technically be classified as “oil pudding”. Which sounds exactly as enjoyable as mayonnaise actually is.

  30. Regarding ketchup/catsup: disgusting.

    (Also: Catsup? Seriously? Just how wrong do people feel the need to be on spelling?)

    Also also: Miracle Whip is an abomination. Mayonnaise has legitimate uses, as we learned on Arrested Development.

  31. I’ve got some (homemade) rhubarb ketchup in the fridge right now. It’s pretty good on kielbasa or brats, though not as good as the homemade horseradish in the jar next to it.

  32. John, the baby Jesus sheds a tear when you disparage souse. Headcheese can be wonderful. Of course, I also like to eat rooster nuts, so what the hell do I know?

  33. I wrote a nice long comment about mayonnaise and ganache and tomatoes and stuff, and clicked Post Comment, but it just vanished without a trace. I’m hoping it went into moderation or something because I used Words of Power, but I don’t have the energy to write the whole thing again.

    I has a sad.

  34. I’ve never heard of rhubarb ketchup. How is it made? Like tomato ketchup, but with cooked rhubarb?

    I wish more varieties of ketchups were available. There’s… tomato. It would be nice to get other variations on a commercial scale, made out of other tangy fruits. There are way more varieties of salsa available, which is likely why salsa outsells ketchup in the US now. Heck, there are more varieties of bottled mayonnaise available!

  35. I’ve never really been fond of mayonnaise, although I do enjoy its children: Thousand Island Dressing, and Tartare Sauce.

    Thousand Island Dressing and its mutation, Three Mile Island Dressing[1], are the two things which will encourage me to eat any salad which chiefly consists of iceberg lettuce (or indeed any other form of lettuce). They at least make the lettuce taste of the dressing rather than tasting of lettuce. This is always an improvement.

    Tartare Sauce can act as a “grown up” dipping sauce for potato chips when the meal is fish and chips. Of course, the chips still need vinegar and salt on them to make them palatable first.

    (Incidentally, I had some dental work done earlier today, and I’m now on soup for a few days. I curse this particular thread with every fibre of my being, because it’s making me hungry).

    [1] Mix equal parts Thousand Island Dressing and chilli sauce.

  36. My mostly Scandinavian family gets into their head cheese and lutefisk and pickled herring. I like the lefse and tolerate the rosettes, but head cheese and lutefisk and pickled herring are gross.

  37. @Lurkertype:

    The same goes for hollandaise, for that matter, except that it’s harder to make and takes longer. On the other hand, you cook hollandaise, so the salmonella question is moot. Both, alas, are pure concentrated high-fat high-calorie tasty goodness. Mmmm.

    I would hesitate to call the process of making Hollandaise “Cooking”. Yes, you have to heat it up to melt the butter, but having done it a few times[1] I don’t think it ever really gets hot enough to kill anything nasty in the eggs.

    [1] Technically, what I’ve made has actually been Bearnaise. But it’s the same procedure, just with different flavourings.

  38. Hi John,

    I’m a lurker from Provence.
    I was going to correct your “from Provençal” mistake but it’s been done already.

    My recipe for mayonnaise is egg yolks, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, some salt, and olive oil.
    I always add a little bit of garlic (so technically it’s an aïoli), otherwise I find it too bland.
    My favorite sauce for: fries, shrimps, raw vegetables.

    I have never tried American mayonnaise from the grocery store, but if it’s anything like the stuff they give you at McDonald’s, no wonder people hate it. That is horrid stuff.

    I like the fact that you can never know if you are going to succeed in making your mayonnaise. Some days, for unknown reasons (stormy weather? room temperature? bad karma?), the emulsion just won’t take, whatever you do.
    Any professional chef here has an idea why?

  39. It’s worth noting that, according to the armies of NATO, the ONE TRUE CONDIMENT is tabasco sauce. Every British 24-hour ORP ration pack and (I think) every US MRE contains a tiny bottle of tabasco, ensuring that your meal, instead of tasting like cardboard in a light sauce of antifreeze and wallpaper paste, tastes like tabasco (definitely an improvement). Fighting men scorn your mayonnaise, puny gamma rabbit. Tabasco is the sauce for warriors.

  40. Ah Mayo… the “Tasteless Condiment”. If the Mayo industry depended on me for support it would have been out of business 25+ years before I was born.

  41. @Ajay: Can’t speak for more modern MREs, but for the older ones, cardboard, antifreeze, and wallpaper paste is giving some of them WAY too much credit for taste. Dehydrated Pork Patty anyone? The only difference between the pork patty and the crackers is that the crackers could be hurled ninja style (or used as the backing for a homemade Claymore mine), while the pork patty had the ability to suck all the moisture out of your mouth… flavor though… some where between paper, and something equally tasteless.

  42. Tabasco is the sauce for warriors.

    I will keep that in mind for when I cook some[/punster]*ducks*

    As to mayonnaise…I am willing to eat the good homemade version from time to time, but the industrial version can be used as a startup for non-lethal weapons development IMHO.

  43. KevinT – As a professional chef, I’d have to say that I haven’t a clue why your mayonnaise won’t emulsify. Probably temperature and humidity are the chief culprits, though if you are starting with only one or two yolks that is notoriously difficult. I tend to use 12 or more at a time. Much easier, but you’ve either got to be selling it or really like it.

    Eandh – I’ve long since learned to not get too dogmatic about what is the ‘real’ recipe for anything. While I’ve never seen anyone use potato in aioli, I have seen it used in rouille (a very similar sauce/spread from southern France) instead of the more usual bread crumbs. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me that there would be local variations of aioli.

    Beth – Don’t be fooled – if you cook a Hollandaise to the point of killing bacteria, you will have most likely made a very buttery dish of scrambled eggs. Hollandaise needs to be very carefully handled to prevent food poisoning. In my restaurant we make it every two hours or so, and discard any that hasn’t been used in that time frame.

    In general – I don’t get the hate for mayonnaise. There are some truly awful brands out there, but if you get one of the good ones (I only use Hellman’s) – or better yet make your own – it has a definite place in cuisine. The very blandness that seems to be despised is what makes it versatile – it is used as a base for an enormous numbers of sauces, toppings and condiments both cold and hot. There is a good reason that Careme and Escoffier both classified it as one of the five or six basic sauces – it’s rarely used on its own, but the derivatives are endless. If you can’t figure out how to use it as a base for something really good, you probably aren’t trying hard enough.

  44. I cannot stand mayo, to the point where I call it “phlegm in a jar”. I even use ranch dressing to make tuna salad, which makes it pretty tasty.

  45. for the older ones, cardboard, antifreeze, and wallpaper paste is giving some of them WAY too much credit for taste. Dehydrated Pork Patty anyone?

    Dehydrated Pork Patty? You were lucky. Eeh, we used to dream of Dehydrated Pork Patty. Every day we used to get issued with small squash ball sized lumps of cavity wall insulation, soaked in uranium mine tailings and methylated spirits and sealed in a bag marked “Fruit Dumplings and Custard”.
    But we were happy in those days.

  46. Your green goddess comment reminds me of a local chain that specializes in salads. They have a terrific zesty ranch called ‘zesty green goddess’. you just made me hungry.

  47. I have to comment on this, since, when I have a kitchen that isn’t being torn apart by contractors (which mine currently is), I typically make mayonnaise at home. It’s not that hard, though it IS finicky… a little too fast with the avocado and coconut oils (which are what I use to make a truly scrumptious mayonnaise) and it’s an oily glop that is nearly unsalvageable. Too, having your egg yolks and oil too cold will give you the same problem. On the other hand, when the emulsion works, and the ingredients are fresh and of premium quality, mayonnaise is a work of art. It isn’t white — instead, with good yard eggs or pasture eggs, it is a soft, rich, pale yellow. It isn’t bland — It is well seasoned with tasty things like fresh lemon juice, sprigs of tarragon, hints of cilantro, or a soupcon of cumin. It is versatile, creamy, rich, and makes baked fish a heavenly treat. It ‘sticks’ a pan-fried coating better than any amount of milk could do — and spread on the OUTSIDE of a Monte Cristo or Grilled Cheese and Tomato INSTEAD of the batter — it makes a rich, eggy crust that is extraordinarily tasty! Malign the mayonnaise? NEVER!

  48. Kevin T — after about 15 years of making mayonnaise, I’ve found that a few things make the difference for me — First, for a little over 1 cup of mayonnaise, I use 4 egg yolks (the fresher the better — I usually make mayonnaise on Sunday, the day after the Farmer’s Market — only to make sure that my yolks are at ambient temperature).

    Which brings me to the second tip: Make sure that your eggs and oil are at ambient temperature or slightly warmed. During the summer, since I’m in south-central Texas, ambient temperature is fine. We never air condition below 78 during the summer months, so things in the house are never too cold. During the winter months, since our heating system isn’t quite at the same efficiency as our AC, it can get a little chilly. For these months, I always keep a bowl of hot water handy, and immerse my eggs and oil in hot (105-110 degree) water for about 15 minutes before starting my winter mayonnaise.

    Third is the pace at which you drop the oil. I have two methods I use — one in which all of the ingredients go into the cup of an immersion blender and I slowly tip the blender in the cup to incorporate the oil, and the 2nd in which I use a large plastic dropper bottle to drop my oil a few drops at a time into the eggs — never more than the THINNEST of streams at even the end, or it -will- break, and you’ll have to start over with more eggs.

    Which brings me to the FOURTH tip — if your mayonnaise breaks, put 2 more egg yolks in a clean bowl, and then add the glop as if it were the oil — which, for me, means pouring the glop into one of those squeeze bottles and adding it to the new yolks by the drip-drip-drip method. If it is humid or cold, you’ll need to go really slow to make sure that it emulsifies properly. Mid-winter, if my mayo keeps breaking, I’ll pop the bowl into a second bowl of warm water, to keep the emulsion warm.

    To improve the ‘keeping power’ of my homemade mayonnaise, right at the end I stir in 2 tablespoons of whey, warmed to 100-105 degrees F. Not that it lasts long enough to worry about — during heavy-use seasons or for entertaining, I may make several batches of mayo a week… sometimes more than one a day if we’re entertaining.

    Dry herbs can go in while you’re blending — wet additions should wait until you’re done and be stirred in after the fact — again, to help keep it from breaking. Make sure all of your additions are at room temperature or slightly warmed, too — again, it’ll help keep the emulsion intact.

    Last tip — if you’re using an immersion blender, keep the speed REALLY low at the beginning. Give the ingredients time to get used to each other and get really friendly. When I’m using the immersion blender method, I always start out at the lowest speed, and don’t increase the speed until the blender starts laboring. Always increase the speed with the blender all the way down in the bottom of your cup — the tall-sided cups work best for mayonnaise, BTW… instead of the open bowls, IME — and slow down how much you’re tilting the blades so you don’t beat up the emulsion so much that it breaks again.

    I hope this helps. I’m not a professional chef, but like I said above, I make mayonnaise a LOT!

  49. Have nothing against mayo as a condiment, but leaving it off even a fast food sandwich makes it a much healthier, lower-calorie meal. The habit of saying “hold the mayo” has worked wonders for my weight-loss program.

  50. Tam – There is a company called Wilderness Family Naturals that makes a mayonnaise from coconut oil that is great if you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own.. and I found some at Whole Foods by a company from France (Delouis Fils) and Sir Kensington’s from England that use sunflower oil rather than soybean or canola.

  51. Like any other food that has been violated by the modern food industry, real mayonnaise made from scratch is a delectable and awesome treat. The stuff on the store shelves is lying to you.

  52. Mayo, I love the stuff. When I was a teen, I’d eat bread and mayo sandwiches and go through a quart jar a week, to the dismay of my mother. I don’t eat bread anymore but mayo still has a place of honor in my kitchen.

  53. I grew up really poor, so we ate Miracle Whip and called it mayo. Honestly, I was in my mid 20s when someone proved to me that MW and Mayo are two different things.

    You should hear my story about eating a pear for the first time, having been raised on canned pears and fruit cocktail.

    I eat properly now and can say with complete understanding that the Joco room delivery cheese plate was awful.

    but still make my grilled cheese sandwiches with miracle whip. My wife hides the container in the back of the fridge so her shame is secret. Well, was secret.

  54. Mayonnaise is great, home-made even better. But a lot of foreign varieties (eg Hellman’s) are horrible to my palate trained on the Dutch and Belgian flavours.

    And the combination with fries is great.

  55. Why must french fries suffer so? I thought it horrendous enough when my English-descended father used to poison them with vinegar; but dipping them in that puss-like heart attack inducing foulness is a crime against gastronomy. Properly fresh and hot fries need nothing more than a touch of salt, ever.

  56. Mayonaisse? A perfectly find condiment. Catsup? Has it’s place. But why oh why has the noble mustard been consigned to anonymity of late? You can leave ANY of those other things off a hamburger and get by, but mustard? Never!

    And to be clear – we’re not talking about the yellow goo that comes out of a French’s bottle. Real mustard should have some clear hints about where it came from!

  57. Yes! Mustard is a wonderful condiment. So why do we have to specifically request it in almost every restaurant? Why isn’t it on the table along with the ketchup? When I asked for a packet of mustard for my hamburger in a well-known fast food restaurant, the employee tried to give me honey mustard! For a hamburger!! Good Grief! Let’s hear it for MUSTARD! HURRAY! HUZZAH!!

  58. Oh, mustards are a whole ‘nother chapter or two on their own.

    And, indeed, why are we presented with ketchup whether we like it or not, but must beg for mustard? Even the squeezy French’s kind? It is what hamburgers were made for!

  59. Mustard is great on salmon (before encrusting it with potato chips and baking) but hamburgers?

    It really doesn’t go well with the roasted green chilis.

  60. I haven’t ever tried fresh mayo, possibly because I was raised on Miracle Whip (still love it, don’t care what anyone says) and absolutely hate the taste of store bought real mayo.

    I believe root beer is America’s revenge on the world for anything the rest of the world has tried to get us to eat that is really awful, like Marmite.

  61. @Lurkertype:
    I must disagree. Japanese mayo, aka Kewpie Mayonnaise, is lovely and special. However, it must be spread on Shokupan, preferably the thick cut kind, with a fried egg and broiled eggplant, for a sandwich of exquisite tastiness. DELICIOUS.

  62. stormweaver884 You are patient, knowledgeable, and good at writing.
    I’m a 154 YO male. Can we meet at McDonald’s for a latte to discuss adding bacteria killers to the mayo?

  63. Full disclosure: I have never liked mayonnaise much and find it kinda gross. Yet for some reason I love Vegenaise, despite not being vegan.

  64. Mayo can’t stand the stuff, even ketchup has limited uses for me, Fries, Meatloaf and Scrambled eggs, but Mustard, I can put that on anything and please don’t deride the French’s mustard which happens to be my favorite and lets not talk about that most vile of condiments Dijonnaise why ruin a perfectly good mustard with mayo. I just shudder to think of it

  65. @Lurkertype:

    Regarding the rhubarb ketchup, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve lost the recipe. Brought it home from a chef’s demo at Ceramic Showcase last spring, made a batch and then had it vanish into the seething compost pile of paperwork that is my house. Teh Google has many recipes on the internets, but most call for canned tomatoes, which this one did not.

    It’s basically rhubarb, sweet onions, brown sugar, cider vinegar and spices–I recall cloves, cinnamon, red pepper flakes. I cut back the pepper by about half–I have sissy taste buds–but it’s still pretty hot. Cook it ’til mushy, blend ’til smooth, apply to lovely, lovely sausage onna bun…

  66. a couple misprints : that’s Louis François ARMAND de Vignerot du Plessis,
    and “aïoli” (umlaut on the first i) rather than aoli

  67. Fun fact: Admiral Byng’s failure to relieve Minorca resulted in his execution, and led to this immortal line by Voltaire: “In this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others”

    I love mayonnaise and chips, by the way. Can’t stand ketchup, though it’s interesting to learn it was originally a SE Aisian fish sauce. Amazing how many of the best things in british food come from Asia

  68. Headcheese is also US thing, limited to the South & the Southern diaspora. I have happy childhood memories of listening to concerts in Grant Park (Chicago), with sliced headcheese & some cheddar on a Ritz, some green grapes, and a swipe of my mother’s white wine. I continued to love headcheese until the day my stepfather made some from scratch. The smell permeated the house until it was almost inhabitable. Plus other grossness involved. I have never eaten souse since that sad, sad, sad day.

  69. @Not That Frank: Thanks! I have the same filing system, so if your rhubarb ketchup recipe shows up here through some black hole/white hole, I’ll let you know. Sounds delish.

    Mayonnaise and “to encourage the others” from the same battle? Small island, big outcome.

  70. Hate normal mayo, but did have a tiny taste of ‘the real deal’ in Mahon (during a Force 10 storm, off a tall ship with intense seasickness) & it was garlicky wonderfulness. (We also managed to persuade island tour guide that one of the crew was an Admiral, but they didn’t suffer Adml Byng’s fate fortunately…though we did have to ‘fess up by the time they were setting up the local radio station to do an interview!)

  71. Actually, I *do* know how to make it. Hadn’t realized it came from Port Mahon, though.

    However, I consider it the vilest food I’ve ever encountered (Yeah, even worse than coffee).

    And the fact that they keep trying to hide it under new, secret, names strongly suggests to me that I’m not the only one; that LOTS of people will go out of their way to avoid the vile stuff. (aoli, hollandaise, etc.)

  72. ‘Bout health. I’m posting this with Firefox. The website works best in Opera.
    Not saying it works, just saying it works best in Opera. Haven’t tried it in Safari.

    When making mayonnaise from oil and egg please be aware that this is the stuff that sometimes causes people to wish to die when it is used at a picnic and tastes much better than the store bought.
    Store bought mayo/mayonnaise can be left on the counter for a month after opened. Home made must be kept very cold always.
    Store bought salad cream does not contain deodorized beef fat, which I have seen as an ingredient of margarine.

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