Mayonnaise (sometime abbreviated to mayo in American English and other languages) is a thick condiment made primarily from vegetable oil and egg yolks. Whitish-yellow in color, it is a stable emulsion formed from the oil and the yolks and is generally flavored with mustard, lemon juice or vinegar and salt. Numerous other sauces can be created from it by adding additional seasonings (see below).
Since the name's real origin is unknown, several other explanations exist:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mayonnaise made its English language debut in a cookbook of 1841.
Ambrose Bierce said in his Devil's Dictionary that mayonnaise is "One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion."
Mayonnaise can be made with an electric mixer, an electric blender, or a food processor, or by hand with a whisk or fork. Mayonnaise is made by slowly adding oil to an egg yolk, while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil. The oil and the water in yolks form a base of the emulsion, while the lecithin from the yolks acts as the emulsifier that stabilizes it. Additionally, a bit of a mustard may also be added to further stabilize the emulsion. Mustard contains small amounts of lecithin.
Overworking the olive oil can make mayonnaise bitter. Therefore, it is common to use safflower oil to create the initial emulsion, then add olive oil, working it in with a wooden spoon rather than a whisk.
Some homemade recipes use the whole egg, including the white. It can also be made using solely egg whites, with no yolks at all, if it is done at high speed in a food processor. The resulting texture appears to be the same, and—if seasoned, for example, with salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and a little paprika—the taste is similar to traditional mayonnaise made with egg yolks.
Commercial producers either pasteurize the yolks, freeze them and substitute water for most of their liquid, or use other emulsifiers. For homemade mayonnaise it is recommended using the freshest eggs possible. Some stores sell pasteurized eggs for home use. The eggs can also be coddled in 170°F (77°C) water, after which the hot yolks, now slightly cooked, are removed from the whites. Homemade mayonnaise will generally only keep under refrigeration for three to four days.
Commercial mayonnaise, due to the addition of acids like vinegar or lemon juice, has a pH between 3.8 and 4.6, making it an acidic food. There is a misconception that foods like potato salad can make a person sick if left out in the sun, due to the mayonnaise spoiling. This is false; the pH of mayonnaise prevents harmful bacteria from growing in it. Left out of refrigeration, mayonnaise will develop an unappetizing taste and smell, due to other types of bacteria and molds that can spoil it; but will not make one sick.
Commercial mayonnaise contains calcium disodium EDTA which manufacturers claim is added to protect quality. Oral exposures to EDTA have been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effects.
At about the same time that Hellmann's Mayonnaise was thriving on the East Coast of the United States, a California company, Best Foods, introduced their own mayonnaise, which turned out to be very popular in the western United States. Head-to-head competition between the two brands was averted when, in 1932, Best Foods bought out the Hellmann's brand. By then both mayonnaises had such commanding market shares in their own half of the country that it was decided that both brands be preserved.
In the Southeastern part of the United States, Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina, founded the Duke Sandwich Company in 1917 to sell sandwiches to soldiers training at nearby Fort Sevier. Her homemade mayonnaise became so popular that her company began to focus exclusively on producing and selling the mayonnaise, eventually selling out to the C.F. Sauer Company of Richmond, Virginia, in 1929. Duke's Mayonnaise, still made to the original recipe, remains a popular brand of mayonnaise in the Southeast, although it is not generally available in other markets.
Reily Foods Company of New Orleans, LA, produces Blue Plate Mayonnaise, an extremely popular mayonnaise in the Southern United States. Formerly owned by Hunt-Wesson and manufactured in New Orleans, LA, Blue Plate Mayonnaise is now produced in Knoxville, TN.
Professional athletes have used mayonnaise as a home remedy for aching joints and an ache blocker.
Guidelines issued in September 1991 by Europe's Federation of the Condiment Sauce Industries recommend that oil and liquid egg yolk levels in mayonnaise should be at least 70% and 5% respectively, although this is not legislated. Most available brands easily exceed this target.
Japanese mayonnaise is typically made with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar and a small amount of MSG, which gives it a different flavor profile from mayonnaise made from distilled vinegar. It is most often sold in soft plastic squeeze bottles. Its texture is thinner than most Western commercial mayonnaises (It's mayonnaise you jew). A variety containing karashi (Japanese mustard) is also common.
Apart from salads, it is popular with dishes such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba. It is sometimes served with cooked vegetables, or mixed with soy sauce or wasabi and used as dips. In the Tōkai region, it is a frequent condiment on hiyashi chuka (cold noodle salad). Many fried seafood dishes are served with a side of mayonnaise for dipping. It is also not uncommon for Japanese to use mayonnaise in place of tomato sauce on pizza.
Kewpie (Q.P.) is the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise, advertised with a Kewpie doll logo.
People who are known to like mayonnaise are commonly called mayoler (マヨラー) by their friends.
Furthermore, in many Russian speaking countries, one can find different commercial flavors of mayonnaise, such as olive, quail-egg, and lemon.
Duke's Mayonnaise: The Southern Spread with a Cult Following (Posted 2013-11-05 23:30:35) ; Duke's Mayonnaise: Born from a Businesswoman's Sandwich Business, It Still Inspires Devotion
Nov 05, 2013; I showed up at the gate of the C.F. Sauer Co. in Richmond this past summer pronouncing myself something of a Mayonnaise...