Mayo if it ain’t Hellman’s it must be homemade.
Even friends of friends don’t let friends use Miracle Whip!
Mayo if it ain’t Hellman’s, aka Best Foods, it must be homemade. Mayo is one of my picky items and I love it on everything. Well most things. Yeah everything. Well most things. I like it so much that I try not to have it in the house, which wasn’t that hard a few years ago as Sweden hadn’t yet begun to import Hellman’s. Thus homemade was in my opinion the only legal alternative.
This is a recipe I learned while au pairing in West Horsely, England. Fenella, my host mother was a character. Having lived in Detroit in a past life, she was convinced of many things American, including we only know how to cook hamburgers and fries. Also, “American’s don’t read”. As in we don’t read for enjoyment and have no literary knowledge. Thus, the hard and fast rule was I only cook her recipes and must read as many books as she could throw at me. It took nearly half the summer to convince her that I was in actuality an avid reader, read nearly only for enjoyment and have been an avid reader since, See Dick run. Indeed I had already read many of the books she wanted to educate me with.
Because I really liked Fennella despite her tendency to stereotype. I smiled and laughed inwardly at her comments. I found it rather ironic that I was probably the only person outside of the UK that could honestly say I love English food. I do. I love a good fry up, a battered sausage and mushy peas, a sausage roll, even the 50 pence Sainsbury’s mince meat pies. I love junk food, in particular the fried kind. But, I also know that English food is more than what you find at the chippy. There are some very nice, wholesome English recipes out there. You just have to put your prejudices aside and open your eyes. I also know that the UK has some of the best grocery stores with produce selections that shame California.
By the end of my stay Fennella had come to the conclusion I was not a real American. Rather a one of kind example with European sensibilities and an unusual keenness for literature. What she had yet to learn was that while she taught me a great deal about the kitchen, I could actually make a meal that didn’t include hamburgers and fries. Thus the last night of my stay I insisted on cooking the family a meal of my choice. I decided upon a very simple no frills, poor mans beef stroganoff I had learned from my mother. Being the gregarious, strong minded person she was Fennella’s reaction was, “Why didn’t you tell me you could cook?” A wide smile of triumph spread across my face. I won! Well sort of, I still wasn’t a REAL American.
Despite Fennella’s insistence that we would not be exchanging more than Christmas cards, we kept in contact for many years with long letters that convinced her that I had missed my vocation and should be a writer. Subsequently a long stream of how-to-books landed on my doorstep. In her very matter of fact and determined way she continued to be very kind and extremely supportive of me long after I left their family. I would go so far as to say against her will and her “station” in life we became friends.
The last letter I had gotten from her she had announced that she had breast cancer. It saddens me that I don’t know how she fared. The letters I sent after that went unanswered. However it turned out she holds a big space in my heart and I truly miss her strong-headed albeit stereotypical comments.
Thus, I am very proud to share Fennella’s recipe with you.
Fenella’s mayonnaise recipe.
Mayonnaise is both very easy and when it wants, it can be very difficult. It is difficult when you don’t follow the rules.
Rule #1 The eggs and the oil must be room temperature.
Rule #2 The bowl, the mixer, everything must be bone dry. Water will ruin any chances of your eggs and oil combining.
Rule #3 Some oils are easier to use than others. Corn oil tastes better, but it easily separates from the eggs. So just when you think you got it, your suddenly standing with a bowl of liquid slime.
I haven’t given any measurements here as you need as much oil as it takes to thicken your mayonnaise to the desired consistency.
I make my mayo with a hand held mixer. You can also whisk it by hand, ouch. Or use a kitchen mixer.
In a bowl add 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks. Begin to mix the eggs with your hand mixer and slowly, SLOWLY begin to add the oil. I pour it in a trickle down the side of the bowl or along the stem of the hand mixer. Keeping adding the oil until it thickens to the desired consistency. It usually lands around 1 cup or 2dl.
Now that it is thick you can whisk in about 1/4 cup or 1 dl of olive oil to taste followed by a soup spoon of Dijon mustard salt pepper and a small squeeze of lemon.
Taste it and see if your happy with the flavor. If it tastes oily then you need to add more salt. You can add as much mustard and lemon juice as you like.
Done! Takes about 5 mins. to whip together.
If my eggs aren’t at room temperature I put them in a bowl of hot water for about 10 mins. to warm them up.
You can now use this as mayo, salad dressing base, aioli…
It will keep for about a week.