Mayonnaise: Buy It vs. Make It
This edition of “buy it vs. make it” filled me with dread and trepidation, and I avoided it as long as I could. Not on purpose. I got all the ingredients well ahead of time; I discussed it with my editor. Heck, I was the one who suggested it in the first place. But all the reassurance in the world couldn’t convince me that I could eat a raw egg with impunity, and I kept procrastinating out of sheer terror.
I assure you, my Facebook friends tried. Not even my “help me train my dog” posts garnered more responses than my “who here eats fresh, raw-egg mayonnaise.” If it were as deadly as I fear — raw eggs carry a salmonella risk — nobody would have been around to tell me to stop being so ridiculous, and my list of friends would be much smaller, because a surprising number regularly whips up his or her own batch of fresh mayo when needed, on demand, and enjoys the living daylights out of it.
I’m neurotic, though. (I know: huge news.) In the end, I put on my Crocs and ran out to the store at 8:30 pm, in my pajamas, to buy a carton of Eggbeaters. I told myself, “If it comes out horrible, I’ll try it again with real eggs.”
Well. It did not come out horrible. In fact, fresh mayonnaise is a revelation, and I feel like an idiot for not realizing this sooner. I am not going to buy mayonnaise ever, ever again. I might even make it with raw eggs one day.
To recap: Mayo. Good. So, so good. Even if you make it wrong. And here’s the breakdown.
As I said, I used a generic form of Eggbeaters that I bought at Trader Joe’s for 13 cents an ounce. The recipe I used, which I found wayyyy down in the message boards at Chow, called for 1/4 cup of the stuff, for 26 cents. One cup of canola oil at about 16 cents an ounce: $1.28. The other ingredients are pantry items, so the total cost for about 1 1/4 cups (18 ounces) of amazing mayo was about $1.54, or 9 cents an ounce.
Assuming you’re going to do it the naughty way, using a real, organic grade AA raw egg yolk and, oh, let’s say organic olive oil, that’s 45 cents for the egg and $3 for the oil to make 1 cup of mayo, which comes out to 55 cents an ounce.
Hellman’s/Best Foods mayo is 15 cents an ounce — on sale. Generic is 11 cents. There are even more expensive kinds that use olive oil or say “omega” on them for unknown reasons. You’re coming out ahead on this, price-wise, unless you go for the most expensive ingredients. In which case, according to my friends, you experience something so silky, buttery and bright that you will never eat jarred mayo again.
The recipes are very bossy. You must use a room-temperature egg. You must use an immersion blender. You must add the oil drop by drop or in a thin stream. You must yadda yadda boo boo. You know me: I played fast and loose, throwing it all in my Cuisinart at the same time and holding down the “pulse” button while I looked at the recipe to see how many minutes this would take. I was anticipating five, like when I’m trying to make stiff peaks form in my egg whites. It was five. Seconds. “Whoops!” I said, and looked back at the Cuisinart. Guess what I saw? Mayonnaise.
I seriously used the lowest-rung ingredients to see what the worst-case scenario would give me. It gave me fireworks. This is amazing stuff. If you imagine the way regular mayonnaise enhances your slaw or tuna as wrapping it a creamy, comforting cloak, then the homemade variety is like slipping an ermine robe over its naked body. One’s pleasant. The other is eye-rollingly sensual. I’m getting creepy; I’ll stop.
Do It. Wait, I mean — Make It!
What’s the verdict? Check out all Amy’s Buy It vs. Make It comparisons!