In the 1950s, if mayonnaise had never been sold in gallon-sized jugs, and instead reserved for occasional and delicate use in sandwiches or as dips, it might have cemented itself a beloved American classic for all time. But for some reason, housewives decided to take the airily whipped French condiment and use it liberally, slathering over and into salads. The most horrific is certainly mixing mayonnaise with Jell-O and still calling it a “salad”.
Perhaps due to this type of culinary abuse in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, that people finally tired of mayonnaise as condiment, and along with the new wave of health food junkies, started to say no to mayo in the latter part of the century.
Growing up in California, mayonnaise was avoided like the plague. There was a distinctly no-mayo rule among many of my own fellow classmates, all of us preferring turkey on whole wheat with mustard instead. What kind of children were we!? I bought into this anti-mayonnaise fad, refusing to touch any thing that had a speck of the creamy, oily stuff.
Thankfully these days, mayonnaise is getting a second chance. Offered in moderation, in delicate helpings rather than globular spoonfuls, it can be a lovely sweet and tangy kick to complement many foods. If you were once a mayonnaise hater too, I strongly urge you to give it another try. Maybe try a light shmear in your next turkey sandwich. Or mix with Sriracha to make a deliciously spicy dip. Whatever your methods of re-introducing mayonnaise is to your diet, I urge you to give it a try. And if homemade stuff won’t get you, then okay, I’ll let you hate mayonnaise for life.
Mayonnaise can be made with tools as rudimentary as a mortar and pestle or a whisk- just make sure to beat continuously and vigorously. But to save your arms for soreness the next day, a food processor will do the trick, and make for a lusciously creamy mayo. Eggs are, for the most part, safe to consume raw. If you’re cautious, make sure to purchase organic, free range eggs fresh from the source- if you can. But if even that scares you bit (or, if you’re pregnant, or have dietary concerns), try an aioli instead of mayo- which uses this same and technique, only substitute olive oil instead of grapeseed oil and omit the eggs. Homemade mayonnaise will last four or five days in the fridge, and not much longer. I like to fold a fresh batch directly into an egg, potato, or tuna salad. Serve it to your children, your husband, your friends and family, so they can be converts of the mayonnaise trend too.
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined, about 10 seconds.
- With the machine running, pour the oil through the opening in a slow and steady stream, about 30-45 seconds.
- Open the lid to check on the mixture- it should resemble mayonnaise! Taste and adjust seasoning as desired, adding freshly ground pepper to your liking. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times before removing from the base.
- Spread liberally and share with loved ones.