I’m picky about Tartar Sauce because I don’t much care for dill pickles and not-good Cole Slaw irritates me because it is so simple. The key to both: Mayonnaise. It’s been a while since I’ve made it and we threw the crappy old blender (the one I didn’t start on fire) away when we moved. Time for a new blender, anyway, right?

The basic mayonnaise recipe is:

1 egg yolk
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbl vinegar
oil to desired thickness, 3/4 to 1 cup usually.

Throw all the not-oil in the blender, turn it on low, then drizzle in the oil until the desired consistency is reached. It’s usually easier to just pour from whatever the oil comes in rather than dirty another dish by measuring it out and having to deal with pouring some back into the original container, too.

A lot of recipes say to whisk mayonnaise. This is certainly possible – as is making whipped cream with a whisk – but merely making mayonnaise from scratch is sufficiently retro for me; I see no need to hearken back centuries. Use a powered spinning device of your choice: Hand mixers, stand mixers, stand blenders, and immersion blenders all work just fine. I don’t like the Kitchen Aid because it’s too difficult to dribble the oil in with the whisk flying about (it’s like the molten sugar when making icing).

At its best, that’s pretty boring mayonnaise, but I wasn’t sure what sort of vinegar and what sort of oil. No other additions makes it easy to taste the differences – and there are.

  • I know olive oil tastes very olive-y, so I skipped trying that one.
  • I had corn oil and cider. Don’t do this, either one. Combining them was beyond wrong.

I had distilled vinegar and malt vinegar, but no other oil. A grocery store trip was in order. I returned with white wine vinegar (what is white? the wine or the vinegar or both?), canola oil, and vegetable oil.

  • Canola oil with distilled vinegar was very boring, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a base. A bit of garlic salt made it useable, if not quite an “aoli”.
  • Canola oil with white wine vinegar and a bit of salt will do nicely on a sandwich.

Since both canola oils came out OK, I now have two cups of mayonnaise to eat before continuing the experiment. “Vegetable” oil remains to be tried (since both corn and canola are vegetables, I find the generic labelling a bit distressing). As does malt vinegar. Given that cider is dreadful, I don’t have high hopes. But, malt vinegar and mayo are good on chips with fishes; there’s also a ketchup/mayo mixture known as “fry sauce”. I’ll give it a whirl and see what happens. Worst case: The plumbing gets another cup of oil and tablespoon of vinegar (with lots of dish-soap and hot water).

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