I have this friend—let’s call him Tom—who loves mayonnaise. He can put it on pretty much anything.
Back in school, every bag lunch he brought contained a salami sandwich slathered in the stuff. He would eat fried shrimp with straight mayo instead of tartar sauce. He ate his French fries European style. He would even have a packet of mayonnaise with meals that had no business being eaten with the stuff—he squirted the packet directly into his mouth.
Gross friends (who have since mostly outgrown their obsession with mayo) aside, I knew another person close to me who really enjoyed mayonnaise, but for more practical, less weird reasons.
Back in elementary school, my grandmother would come take care of me when I was sick.
Dad was already at work and mom was rushing out the door when grandma arrived. She was a kind-hearted woman, with strong opinions, a love for frogs and other amphibians, and a fierce loyalty to the 49ers. She was stern in her rules, but would always spoil her grandchildren if we were reasonable. I was always very good at being reasonable, so I was always very glad to see her.
Back then, my grandma lived about 30 minutes away from us. After mom hung up the phone with her, I swear she showed up 15 minutes later, fully stocked with everything she needed to take care of me. Without fail, she would walk through the door with a grocery bag of various ingredients, some 7-Up, crackers, and a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. How fast was she driving? Did she already stop by the store to pick that up? Did she somehow know I was going to be sick today? The grocery bag proved nothing—there were about 3 dozen of those under her kitchen sink and she used them for everything.
Either way, when she showed up everything felt better already. Remember that feeling? Grandma was there and it was all going to be alright. We sat and watched Looney Tunes and I would answer her questions about school and homework in quiet yeses and nos. if I fell asleep I would wake up to one of her soap operas.
But the highlight of the sick day was always the grilled cheese sandwich with the chicken noodle soup. Around lunch time she would get up and head into the kitchen, beginning the preparations. She wouldn’t ask me if I was hungry or if I felt well enough to eat. She knew better than I did.
I don’t know what her grocery bag full of ingredients contained—as a kid, you don’t think to ask about such things. At least, I didn’t. When she was done mixing those ingredients, though, she had created her own gourmet, homemade mayonnaise. And it was good. Real good. Good like, man, I can really see where Tom is coming from.
She slathered that homemade mayo on the outside of that cheese sandwich and grilled it until it was just the way I liked it: very nearly burnt. See, grandma knew what was best for me but she also knew what I loved best. Grandmas are like that.
A plate with grilled cheese, a bowl with chicken noodle soup, a can of 7-Up, and a glass of ice to pour it in. Before she opened the soda, she stole a single ice cube from the glass and placed it gently in the soup. “Let it cool,” she instructed.
Even if I wasn’t hungry; even if I didn’t feel like I could stomach it; even if I didn’t want to sit up: you better believe I took a bite of that grilled cheese.
Making my own mayo brings back fond memories. This homemade mayonnaise recipe isn’t exactly what my grandmother used to prepare, but it’s one I love nonetheless. Though this recipe is far healthier than store-bought mayo, I can only hope that Tom never finds it. I fear its tastiness would be the end of him…
The recipe uses Engage’s Original All-Purpose seasoning blend and is a healthier, tastier alternative to store-bought mayonnaise. It’s simple and delicious, so give it a try!
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp. dry mustard
• 1 tsp. Engage Organics Original All-Purpose
• 1 ¼ cup olive oil
Engage Organic Products used in this recipe:
In a food processor, combine egg yolks, apple cider vinegar, dry mustard, and original All-Purpose. With machine running slowly add olive oil through the feed tube a little at a time until it makes a steady stream. Refrigerate and use as a base in the Ranch Dressing recipe for a healthy alternative to processed mayonnaise, which is loaded with sugar.