The first of July and this summertime weather have given me a bit of a hankering for potato salad lately. Randomly this week as well, the love and loath of Mayonnaise became a topic in two completely separate conversations of mine. Random I know, especially since I was not the one to bring up the M word in either discussion.
(In case you are curious, the heated discussions were all about hating mayonnaise (crazy), mayo not being the preferred glue of choice in salads (crazy) and a t-shirt purchased by a friend stating “I hate Mayonnaise”)
I, on the other hand, have some good memories of Mayo.
Mayo is around when there is leftover turkey at Thanksgiving. When I get lazy and don’t feel like making a sammy, I just dip my turkey into the stuff, straight up. (Don’t worry Mom; I don’t dip into the jar anymore)
Mayo is there with the cranberry sauce and mustard to stick my turkey sammy together, when I do get around to making it.
Mayo is the glue for many divine sandwich fillings. Egg salad, yum. Chicken salad, yum yum. And tuna salad…probably my least favorite, but I wouldn’t turn it away still.
I even remember a time when my mom used to make guacamole with mayo. Umm, can you say, yum?
Mayonnaise is there for dipping your artichoke leaves and hearts in…yes, right next to the melted butter.
Did I mention dipping French Fries in Mayo? (it’s a Canadian thing, eh?)
It was one of my first experiences as a prep cook at a local alehouse that I have my most fond mayonnaise memories…well, not really the fondest, but it is still a memory. Back in those days, making potato salad meant boiling 50 pounds of potatoes in a large steam kettle, cutting every last one into quartered segments, then, my favorite part…pouring all the potatoes into a huge plastic bin, putting on kitchen gloves and adding gallons of jiggley mayonnaise to the bin along with all the other key ingredients that make up a very American style potato salad. Then, the fun part. I would literally swim up to my shoulders in the potato salad, using my hands and most of my arm, because really, how else do you mix 50 pounds of potatoes with gallons of mayonnaise? This was truly humbling for me, especially when the guy I had a crush on at the time would walk by the kitchen and spot me in all my glamour, covered in Mayo.
Luckily, I escaped from this experience with my love of Mayo unharmed, but I have begun to appreciate Mayonnaise of another kind.
The Homemade kind.
This is not something I do often, but if you haven’t tried homemade Mayo, I suggest you start. Mayonnaise is basically an emulsion of egg yolks and oil with a touch of zing from vinegar, mustard or lemon. The type of oil used is what carries the flavor through, so imagine all the possibilities...
Walnut oil..truffle oil? Hmmm, I think this calls for a future blog entry, but for now, I should get back to my 'Best Foods' style potato salad.
For those requests for a recipe, this is what I do...
boil some red potatoes, cool and cut them up. then, toss them with a little vinegar, mayo, salt and pepper. then, add your fixings...for example, hard boiled egg, celery, radish, pickle, green onion...the potato salad is quite versatile that way!!