When I was little I had a babysitter named Mary. Here is what I remember about our time together:
-Mary made me perform somersaults around the family room for her own entertainment.
-When faced with making my lunch, Mary would produce a mayonnaise sandwich. Which I had to finish.
I did not like Mary.
It should come as no surprise to you then, that despite an ever growing and changing palate, I have always had a difficult time reconciling my distaste for mayonnaise. My phobia of the stuff had two distinct legs, one borne from Mary’s horrible sandwiches and the other borne from my complete and utter lack of knowledge about the food itself. Mary’s sandwiches were a total mystery to me. White bread (this was before I stopped eating gluten) and a thick spread of mayo from the jar. This was lunch?
In theory, I understood Hellman’s Mayo to be a condiment best used to bolster the flavor of a sandwich. In practice, it stood in my childhood fridge as a jar of white Jello. At once creamy and jiggly it occupied a nebulous food region-texturally confusing and when it came to flavor, well, what exactly was it supposed to taste like?
For years I wouldn’t touch the stuff. If I ordered a club sandwich it was most certainly “without mayo, please.” Lunch at a friend’s house once confronted me with a turkey sandwich slathered heavily with mayo. I nibbled a few bites to be polite, then feigned illness to avoid the aberration.
Flash forward to high school. Never flag waving fans of Hellman’s, my mothers (yes, I have two) decide to make their own mayonnaise. I watch from afar, eager to uncover the mysteries behind this condiment. If it’s made from eggs and yolks, how could it turn out so violently white?
When they finish the experiment I am baffled. It neither smells nor looks like the wallpaper paste I expected. In fact, its sharp flavor spikes the kitchen with a garlicky scent that draws me close in for further inspection. And there it is-a gentle yellow emulsification of olive oil, egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice and whole grain mustard. Ingredients I understand, whipped together to assuage my babysitter-based phobias.
It’s funny how quickly a food phobia disappears when you spend some time in the kitchen. Watching my moms make mayo out of some of my favorite ingredients took the fear out of the unknown. While I’m still no fan of the glossy, white jarred stuff, this homemade mayo can slick my sandwiches any day. And trust me, this will take your egg salad out of the cafeteria and transform it into a perfect late lunch on the patio this summer.
What are your food phobias? Anything you refuse to eat? Anything you’ve conquered in the kitchen?
Mary, your sandwiches were appalling and I’ll never understand the need for so many somersaults, but with this recipe I think I’m ready to forgive you for the mayo sandwiches.
Food is no place to bear a grudge.
Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Corn, Nuts and Tree Nuts.
- 3 Large Egg Yolks
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup Brown Rice Syrup
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons Whole Grain Mustard
- 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 2 cups Olive Oil
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the egg yolks, lemon juice, brown rice syrup, minced garlic, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whip it. Whip it good. Seriously, use a machine to blend these together, your arms will burn wielding a whisk.
- Turn your mixer on high and pour the oil into the bowl in the thinnest stream possible. Yes, it will dribble down the side of your measuring cup, it will get on your counter, you’ll pour it in cautiously slowly and sometimes too fast. The mayonnaise will survive as long as you try to pour it in slowly. This is how emulsification works.
- When you’ve finished pouring in the oil, let it whip for another minute and then turn off the mixer. The mayonnaise should be pale yellow, flecked with mustard grains and thick (but not as thick as it will be after a stay in your fridge to chill). You’re finished. Wasn’t that easy?