My Dad’s No Fail Mayo

Growing up, my mom was the cook, but dad started to cook and eventually became the chief cook, making all the meals for my mom.

He died in his sleep June 24, 2020 at the age of 93.

I don’t know where he learned to make mayo, but he made it all the time and taught me and countless others how to do it, joking about holding a mayo clinic. It’s an easy process, just requiring patience, but the rewards are great.

However, once you’ve made your own mayo, you’ll never buy it again—just saying.

The only downside (if there could possibly be one) is that, like ice cream, you learn exactly what’s in it. As Kerry, the chef from Cafe Miranda (one of my favorite restaurants) would say, it’s an extremely efficient fat delivery system!

My dad taught a lot of things and supported me in everything. It might seem a strange tribute, but here is his no-fail mayo. This makes about a cup.

My Dad’s No Fail Mayo

  • 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar of your choosing)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove of garlic, sort of optional
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • About 1 cup canola or any vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Tarragon or other herbs, optional

In the bowl of a food processor add the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and salt. Process a few times until well mixed. With the motor running, very slowly pour in the olive oil. When that is incorporated start pouring in the vegetable oil, very slowly. As you keep pouring you will see and hear it start to thicken. When it’s your desired texture, stop, and taste. Correct seasonings and you’re done. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

Once you’ve had homemade mayo and realize how easy it is to make, you’ll never buy it again. The other advantage is that you can add whatever seasonings — herbs, garlic, spices — you want. Tarragon is great in it, especially for chicken salad. Dad always added a small clove of garlic and I like it a little lemony.

The only trick is to add the oil in a very thin stream and pay attention to the texture of the mayo or it will separate and then it’s ruined. I listen for it to start making a plop, plop, plop sound in my food processor and then I know it’s good. I’ve started using a squeeze bottle with a very small opening and it’s worked perfectly.

A blender, or stick blender, or whisk will work, but my dad always made his in a food processor and so do I.

Miss you lots and know you’re watching over all future batches, so they’ll be perfect.


5 thoughts on “My Dad’s No Fail Mayo”

  1. I can’t think of a more beautiful tribute to your dad–I’m sure he likes it!
    Glad you guys are getting to spend a nice long time in Maine. Looks like you’re having a beautiful trip.

  2. My husband and I live in St. George, Maine. I met your mom awhile back when she was selling her wonderful earrings at the Oceanfront Grange in Port Clyde. As I had hundreds of old beads and findings from a previous venture, I offered them to her and she invited me to the house.
    I visited and met your father as well. What a kind and intelligent man he was! The three of us spent a wonderful afternoon talking of art and food and the goings on in St George.
    Since my husband was nurturing his interest in boat restoration your dad insisted he take an old dinghy(pram) your dad had built that was in need of much work. Your parents would not take “no” for an answer!
    So my husband restored it and it looks beautiful. It sits at water’s edge behind our house where we take it out into the coves for afternoon rows. We always remember and mention the kindness of your dad and mom as we meander the waters.

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