Mayo Blog 2009_3
 I found this shot, by Donna, while looking for something else and I find it so compelling I just had to post it (it's a big file, fyi, if you're double clicking).  I'm a huge advocate of making your own mayonnaise, but not all the time. When I want a fried egg sandwich with a glass of milk on the weekend, I'm not going to whip up a mayo—I want some fluffy white bread and Hellmann's for that.  I think Hellmann's is an excellent product. But if I want a beautiful aioli or to make a luxurious potato salad or a lemony-shalloty mayo for dipping a steamed artichoke, I make mayonnaise.  It's not just because I'm some kind of purist, it's because it's such a pleasure.  And a good part of the pleasure is the visual nature of the transformation of clear oil into an astonishing emollient. Recipe and more pix here, should the urge strike.  But again, I just love the textures and shapes Donna captured close up and had to post.


48 Wonderful responses to “Mayonnaise: Because I can’t help myself”

  • E L

    i’m glad to see that you’ve included the secret ingredient of water in your recipe. the longer i cook, the more i’ve come to appreciate what water brings to certain recipes, especially emulsions.

    handmade mayo, without water, lacks that luscious fluffy, silky quality that makes the real stuff so special. i learned this while working in spain and making alioli every day in a mortar and pestle for my taskmaster supervisor, senora calderon, who stressed that the texture of the sauce is the all-important part.

    most recipes you see don’t call for water, which is why i believe they miss the mark. it does essentially the same thing for vinaigrettes as well, helping to stabilize the emuslsion and contribute to the soft, smooth texture.

    (i sense a blog post devoted to culinary uses of water in my future). thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts, michael!

  • Angry Brit

    Firstly, beautiful shot. Secondly, I love making mayonnaise. I generally don’t care much for the shop-bought kind, but I’ll get out whisk and bowl without a second thought to make it. Thirdly, I laughed out loud at the Urgent Message addition at the end of the article. I had actually idly been wondering that the other day and wanted to test out the old wives’ tale.

  • Jaxie Waxie Woo

    I fell deeply in love many moons ago with a Curry Mayonnaise offered in a since-vanished place called the North Star Pub in NYC’s South Street Seaport… my love affair with french fries truly began that day.

  • meleyna

    Beautiful picture. I’ve never made mayonnaise simply because I can’t stand the jarred stuff. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at it simply to try the technique, but I don’t want to end up tossing it out. Perhaps its just the jarred stuff I don’t like… That photo is almost enough to change my mind…

  • marcj

    Ah, fond memories of living the bohemian life in Montreal, making my own mayo. My problem always came with aioli, which always turned out garlicky in a way that stings the mouth and was way to strong. What’s the secret to making it mellow yet savory? Do you have to cook the garlic, or let it sit for a while?

  • Kate in the NW

    That photo is truly beautiful.

    And I admit that between the cabbage-and-PB thing and the reference to white-bread-and-Hellman’s (which, by the way, is called “Best Food’s”- or at least it used to be – west of the Rockies), I have developed a prurient, inferiority-complex-induced interest in what heinous culinary shortcuts and/or addictions you’ll cop to. Come on, tell us…what is it? Spam? Cheetos? Wine Coolers? There’s gotta’ be something. Make us Plebes feel better out here….

  • vincent

    nice pic – and add with the water as in butter or other fat emulsions.
    and I have to say a lemon shallot mayo is WICKED with artichokes, asparagus, cardoon, etc.

  • carri

    Kate in the NW…Cheetos, I hear Ruhlman can’t resist orange cheese food…and frankly neither can I! The Mayo photo is food porn at its tastiest, shame on you…

  • MIchael

    Making mayo from scratch is something magical. With a childs mind you can giggle and laugh at the fact the oil transforms into something so much more viscuse. I enjoy making mayo, even in the professional kitchen I will trump pulling out the robo-coup for a wisk and a bowl.

    I feel the same about making pasta, and an easy shape like cavatelli. I made cavatelli from scratch with my mother and she said, “that’s all pasta is?” That was a beautiful day.

  • NYCook

    Mabey we can expound upon the technique used to make mayo, and start explaining such sauces as buerre blancs, buerre fondue, and hollandaise, which to the home cook can appear to be the work of a wizard.

  • chad

    I used to be into Hellman’s, but these days I’m a Kewpie man all the way. It was hard to get into it years back due to the underlying sweetness it has, but you can’t beat a mayo with MSG listed in the ingredients. Besides, Kewpie is so iconic with that little cartoon baby and it’s weird bottle shape that won’t stand up because it’s made of some strange Japanese technology plastic. Spicy mayo for tuna just wouldn’t be the same if made with anything else.

  • Beanie

    You scared me! I thought it said “Baconnaise” at first and I thought “Good heavens! Not you, too???”

    I want to go to Cafe Press and make a T-Shirt out of the title and picture in this post! 😉

  • Allison

    Yesterday I made mayonnaise’s cousin, hollandaise, and broke it. I was following a blender recipe from Eric Ripert with two yolks, two tablespoons of lemon juice and ten ounces of melted butter. It came perfectly thick and smooth at first, but I decided it was too lemony and needed more butter. It took me a few minutes to melt more butter and when I tried to drizzle it into the running blender, the whole thing broke. Any idea why?

    Is hollandaise repaired in the same way as mayonnaise?

  • Tim Ross

    Truly an ethereal photograph, Mr. Ruhlman you are some sort of gastronomical demi-god. I have a number of friends and family members (who I shall not mention by name)who do not like mayonnaise, while I have gladly been licking Hellman’s off my knife for a good decade now. I have to admit though, that I did not find your recipe for mayo sandwich friendly I just percieved the flavor as different. I felt that it was something best left for a piece of fish as it almost resembled a tartar sauce to me. I would much prefer my Hellman’s in any sandwich I think the mayo from scratch will need a few more ingredients for me to put in my next BLT.

  • Dick Black

    I suppose you could use bacon fat to make an mayo like condiment. Anyone ever try this ?

  • Vivian

    I sprained my wrist last week and used it as an excused to buy a new immersion blender. This will be the perfect vehicle for a test drive.

  • Laura

    I always thought I hated mayonnaise until I made my own…I think the tipping point was Amanda Hesser’s chicken with basil mayonnaise. What a perfect lunch!

  • John

    Thank you for re-affirming my belief in “it’s OK to like Hellmann’s”. I do make mayo (first time from Charcuterie, FWIW) for anything where I want to really focus on the quality, but for a lunch-time samich??? Grab that big ole jar from the fridge!

  • mel

    It’s a nice shot but IMHO it’s about 3 or 4 stops too dark.
    I’m all for moody images but Mayo seems to be more of a
    bright sunlight kind of subject…..

  • Nancy

    Gorgeous photo! But Michael, what do you mean by
    “fluffy white bread?” What immediately comes to my mind when someone says fluffy bread is–gulp, gag–Wonder Bread!

  • Trig

    I couldn’t agree more. There are times when I go for the Hellmann’s and other times when making it yourself is an integral part of the process of eating and pure pleasure to do. As commenters have said, adding the right amount of water is critical, as I demonstrated in some video clips I posted a couple of years ago:

    Not just for the silky texture but also so you get that pure whiteness of the finished product.

  • jsmeeker

    the texture of mayo made by hand with a whisk is amazing. It’s not like the top commercial brands. Thick. Creamy. Perfectly smooth.

    I need to learn other ways to use it other than in tuna or chicken salad, it just spread onto a sandwich. If I want to use it as a sauce on fish or chicken or vegetables, do I need to think it out a bit with more water?

  • Rhonda

    Michael (Ruhlman); sorry for the interjection.

    To my friend, Michael Franco:

    I just read your latest post. Beautiful, as always.

    However, I am crushed and dismayed — mostly crushed, that you did not consult with me (your Canadian friend) vis-a-vis, Canadian chocolate. Thanks to our friendly immigration laws, we have two world class chocolatiers who are in my midst. I am not going to tell you who they are until you make it easier to comment on you blog. Yes, I am 6. 🙂

    Ruhlman – love ya (as always). Franco – please give me an email address.

  • Rhonda

    Hi Natalie:

    I know, I know, great artisanship but that is not the one.

    The two I am referring to are imports (new Canadians) and close to me (West Coast). Yes, our Immigration laws work!

  • danielmolano

    whoa that looks very unhealthy! and I did not know that mayonaise was mostly made of oil. I guess that is what makes it so unhealthy. This post reminds us all of why Americans are so fat and unhealthy.

  • Rhonda


    Other cities?

    Well, sort of… If you want to eat good food, and I mean GOOD FOOD (bread, coffee, everything really), there is only one choice — Montreal. Ditto for the architecture. But you know that already.

    You go to Toronto because you have to (on business) and so that you can visit the ROM (Royal Onatrio Museum of Art – The Met’s little sister). In and out quick, nobody gets hurt.

    If you want to live in beauty every day and relatively good weather (this year excepted), you live in BC, by the water, with wildlife coming up to your door every morning. You will NEVER EVER get a decent piece of bread, a passable cup of coffee or anything even resembling culture.

    Ah choices, there are so many….

  • Michael Franco

    Hello Rhonda,

    Do tell, do tell. If you leave a comment on my blog I’m more than pleased to correspond with you, and I will not publish your comment.

    Thank you to our gracious host, Mr. Ruhlman, for indulging us on his notable blog.

  • Rhonda

    Michael Franco: Your Blog still spits out my entry. It is almost as if it knows what I am about to say and has judged it as complete tosh. It probably is… 🙂

  • Natalie Sztern

    Rhonda, Serious Coffee makes a good cup of java i hear…don’t really know – it is a franchise owned by daughter’s roomie’s family…but they think it is great..nothing, including the 5 buck latte at Second Cup, beats tim horton’s and their roll-up-the-rim 🙂

  • Feisty Bourbon Girl

    Sorry guys, but as a girl of the South, I grew up with Duke’s mayonnaise. It’s the best, anything else tastes flat and bland. Try it and I guarantee you’ll be a convert.

  • kindageeky

    I’m off the mayo from the store, look at just about any one of these and you’ll find soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list …

  • Russ H

    I used to hate mayo. Then I say your earlier post about making mayo. Donna’s pictures and your simple explanation of it made me try my hand at making it. Now I love the simple and fresh taste of my own homemade mayo and always have some on hand.

  • sword

    Kind of weird … you wouldn’t expect to actually like something as simple as mayo … but, it adds a lot.