Mayonnaise is one of those foods that we tend to not give much thought to. It’s one of those foods that you either love or hate, and either you slather it on every sandwich you get or… you use mustard instead. But there are probably a whole lot of things you didn’t know about this famous emulsion of oil, eggs, and vinegar.
It’s a High-End Sauce
Mayo doesn’t get the respect it deserves. There are a couple varying accounts of its origin, but most agree that it was first created in the town of Mahón in Menorca, Spain, and was taken to France after a 1756 victory over the British. It’s a classic cold sauce, and made its earliest menu appearances at upscale establishments and royal banquets.
It’s The Base for Hundreds of Sauces
Add some mustard and it’s a remoulade. Add garlic and it’s aioli. Add saffron and paprika to aioli and it’s a rouille. Add diced pickles and onion and it’s tartar sauce. Add ketchup and pickle relish and it’s Thousand Island. And so on and so forth…
It’s One of the Most “Calorically Dense” Foods on Earth
It’s one of the most calorie-rich foods on the market pound per pound, with about 700 calories per 100 grams.
There are Variations All Over the World
Japanese mayo (the most popular brand is Kewpie) contains apple cider or rice vinegar and a pinch of MSG. Russia makes it with sunflower seed oil and is the only market where mayo outsells ketchup.
It’s Incredibly Easy to Make
Mayo can be made by hand, but if you have a food processor or blender it’s even easier. Just crack some eggs, mix in some vinegar, slowly drizzle in oil until it’s emulsified, then add in salt and pepper to taste. You’d be amazed at how much better homemade mayo tastes than the jarred stuff (especially if made with extra virgin olive oil and high-quality eggs).
Unilever Owns Both Hellmann’s and Best
Hellmann’s was the East Coast’s biggest brand and Best was the West Coast’s in the early part of the twentieth century, and in 1932 Best bought out Hellmann’s. Instead of doing away with it, however, they kept it exactly the same because it was such a regional favorite (Best’s is slightly tangier). The company was acquired by Unilever in 2000.