Recipe: Homemade mayonnaise

It all started with a BLT sandwich. Using my skills as a famous food writer, I planned to deftly combine these three simple elements into a masterpiece of sandwich perfection. The stage was set: Tomato was sliced, bacon was sizzling, lettuce — well there was no lettuce because who cares about the lettuce anyway. The only thing left was to make a little mayonnaise to bring the whole thing together.

What happened next is kind of a blur. I see the blender start to tip. "Gadzooks!" I scream (I've never been good with expletives). I reach for it, but I'm too late. The glass pitcher tumbles off its stand, hits the tile backsplash and explodes into a thousand pieces. Mayo-coated shards tear through my outstretched hand, blood goes everywhere. "Arrgh!" I scream as I grab a dishtowel and start to apply pressure.

When the bleeding finally stops, I sit down for lunch. Looking at my plate, I see just a pile of unconnected ingredients. Without mayo, this is no sandwich. This is nothing! I hang my head and let out a disheartened sigh. It starts to rain. Wait, no — it starts to snow. Sad violin music plays. The flickering light from a single candle lights my face, and is extinguished by a cold breeze from an open window. Curtain.

If you've never had homemade mayonnaise, I don't blame you for thinking you hate mayo.

Store-bought mayonnaise in its weirdly unrefrigerated state is pretty gross. It looks like a greasy version of that marshmallow fluff stuff and doesn't taste much better. I've been lucky enough to be raised on the homemade version. It's kind of a family tradition — there is even a recipe for it in the secret family cookbook — so I've always made my own.

Making mayo at home is easy, quick and doesn't require any weird ingredients. In fact, you probably have everything you need to make a batch right now. I don't know any fancy or fusion-y applications for mayonnaise; I just use it to make my sandwiches and chicken salad significantly more awesome.

The recipe below is adapted from my family's recipe. It does contain raw egg — if that freaks you out you can use pasteurized egg. Because mayo is an emulsion, where oil is suspended in a liquid, sometimes it just doesn't come together. Everything from the size of the egg you use to the humidity outside plays a part in whether the liquid/fat ratio is just right. Thankfully, the ingredients are cheap, so if doesn't work, just try again.

Dohrman's Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder (I use Colman's Mustard in the old-timey looking yellow tin)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Wesson salad oil

Directions:

Put egg, seasonings, vinegar, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of oil into blender or food processor. Cover and process. Begin pouring in very sloooooowlllllly. If needed, scrape down the sides with a spatula. Once all the oil is incorporated transfer to a storage container, preferably something glass. I like to use my mayo right away, though my sister says it's better if you refrigerate it for a few hours first. This is real mayonnaise so it needs to be kept in the fridge. It will keep for about a week, though mine usually gets sandwichified before that.

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