Monday, October 29, 2012

Mayonnaise

In order to better appreciate this post, you ought to know that I care not for most condiments, mayonnaise included.
I do not like mustard.  I do not like pickle relish.  I do not like ketchup.  I do not like mayonnaise.  I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
So, when Mom asked me what we should have for lunch today, the fact that we didn’t have mayonnaise didn’t deter me from suggesting chicken salad.
You might not care about it,” Mom told me, “but others of us don’t enjoy dry chicken salad.”
Oh.  Right.
I still wanted that chicken salad.  I didn’t care about the mayonnaise, or lack thereof.  So I came to the obvious conclusion that I would attempt to make the missing condiment.
A quick Internet search showed me that most recipes were nearly identical.  One egg, one cup oil, a tablespoon or so vinegar or lemon juice, and some seasonings.
So, armed with a few simple ingredients and a blender, I began.
Some recipes called for an entire egg, while others simply used the yolk.  I started out by only using the yolk, since I decided it would be easier to add the white later than to attempt to remove it after whipping everything together.
Every single recipe I saw warned that the oil was to be added slowly. 
So, I added the oil slowly.
Or at least, I thought I did.
I’d call taking two minutes to pour one cup of liquid slow.
But apparently, it wasn’t slow enough.  When I realized my mixture wasn’t at all resembling mayonnaise, I read some of those recipes a bit slower.
Ten minutes, folks.  I was supposed to add that oil almost drop-by-drop over the space of something like ten minutes.  ’Cause, you know, we don’t want to rush things.
Oops.
I don’t like to waste ingredients, so I ditched the instructions (which told me to dump what I’d mixed) and ventured forth into the unknown.  Or something like that.
I opened the blender and poured most of the contents back into the measuring cup.  Yes, poured.  That stuff…well, it looked like oil and egg yolk mixed together.  Which it was.  But see, it wasn’t supposed to look like that.  Mayonnaise doesn’t look like oil and egg yolk, does it?
Dumping those egg whites into the mixture, just in case they actually did something to help, I started again, pouring the egg-and-oil mixture in drop by agonizing drop.
Curious siblings walk past.  ”What are you making, Hannah?”
“I don’t know.  I don’t want to talk about it.  Just leave me alone, please.”
Our blender stops every minute, and I have to start the cycle again.  Each time I do, the mixture splatters up out of the blender onto my face.
Olive oil is good for skin, right? Of course right.  
A quick inspection reveals that the mixture no longer looks quite so runny and disgusting.  It’s starting to get a bit thicker, a bit paler…
There’s hope!
Another ridiculously long fifteen minutes  and many splatters later, the mix finally resembles mayonnaise.
Sort of.
It’s spreadable, anyway, and identifiable as a condiment rather than a salad dressing.  So.  It is mayonnaise.
Voila?
I go looking for a family member who actually likes mayonnaise.
“It’s…sort of yummy.”  Abbie tells me. “But…I don’t like it.”
Well, at least she’s honest.
Esther, however, loves it.  ”It tastes like apricots!”
What?!  Apricots…?  (We later learn that she meant avocados.)
So after nearly a full half-hour of frustration, I got my chicken salad.  Dry.  Just as I wanted it in the first place.
And all this, people, is to tell you that I suddenly have a new-found appreciation for store-bought mayo.
Long live Hellmanns?