Three weeks into our marriage, my husband conducted an intervention - a mayonnaise intervention!
Prior to marriage, we talked at-length about our shared and individual beliefs, desires, and goals about every facet of life. Somehow, we skipped the topic of mayonnaise.
During the 63rd meal of our marriage, he wondered if we could "please have a meal that doesn't contain mayonnaise?"
I came by my mayonnaise-addiction honestly. All the women in my childhood - my mother, aunts, neighbors, friends - considered mayonnaise to be a staple food, worthy of pantry space.
"I hate its flavor. Blech!", he summarized his feelings on the topic.
Out With The Bad, In With The Good (or so we thought)
I changed my ways, removing mayonnaise and all mayo-based recipes from our life. But, I needed recipes. And I needed them fast.
It wasn't long before our bookshelves (library book sales are amazing!) were filled-to-overflowing with low-fat recipe books and "healthy" food magazines.
I learned to craft world-flavors - Thai, Burmese, Malaysian, African, East Indian and Caribbean - a world away from mayonnaise.
Butter is bad! Meat is bad! Eggs are bad!
Embracing their collective low-fat message, we exchanged margarine for butter, vegetable oils in place of animal fat, egg whites for whole egg and full-fat cream for carrageenan-thickened low-fat cream. They need the carrageenan, a thickener, to make it appear as though the cream is real.
"The medical solution for elevated triglycerides and cholesterol levels, apart from drugs, is a low fat diet. However, this has its own problems. It leads to severe deficiencies in essential lipids, such as fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and phospholipids...." Lipid & Fat Metabolism
After 16-years of eating-and-hating egg-white omelettes, my husband came home from a check-up, a high-cholesterol prescription, in-hand.
It was a wake-up call that our low-fat diet wasn't working. Tucking the prescription away in a drawer, we contemplated "where we went wrong".
That weekend, a copy of The Maker's Diet leaped off a bookstore's shelf, landing in our hands. Its recipes, credited to Sally Fallon, co-author of Nourishing Traditions, and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), used spices and flavors we loved.
Devouring every word of Nourishing Traditions, my husband pointed to Fallon's recipes, joyously exclaiming, "Real butter! Real eggs! And home-made mayonnaise!"
Never in a million years would I have thought a sane response to, "You have high-cholesterol" would have been, "Let's go eat butter! And real cream! And eggs! And mayonnaise!"
Lipids and Lipase
Setting out to discern the truth about dietary fat and cholesterol, we discovered articles and opinions on THINCS by scientists and medical professional who pioneered high-cholesterol skepticsm.
Their message? Eat whole-fat. High-cholesterol is a myth. Low-cholesterol is dangerous.
We discovered little gems of nutrition and science-wisdom, Fallon tucked into recipes. The first sentence in her mayo recipe is a good example:
"...homemade mayonnaise imparts valuable enzymes, particularly lipase to sandwiches, tuna salad, chicken salads and many other dishes...".
Enzymes! Lipase! Not a typical recipe! I felt like Fallon threw me a lifeline, so I grabbed it, researching lipids and lipase, summarized at Lipase & Lipids for Health.
Bottom line: Eating fat-rich, lipase-rich food is important for our health. Living, nutrient-dense, whole-foods that contain living enzymes, take the load off our pancreas which must work hard to provide lipase, when we eat lipase-deficient food.
All Lipids Are Lipase Rich. But Not All Lipase Are Available.
I assumed that because all oils are rich in lipids (fat), that any of our favorite healthy oils (unrefined, minimally-processed, well-balanced essential-fatty-acids) would also be a good source of lipase.
Wrong. Whether the oil that we use is -
- Highly-refined, modern vegetable oil (canola, soy, corn)
- Traditionally, minimally-processed fruit oil (olive, coconut, avocado, etc.)
- Monosaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated
- Cold-pressed, centrifuge-extracted, or heat-treated
- Filtered or non-filtered
- Conventional or organic
When it comes to lipase: Oil lipids (fat) are NOT a good, reliable, adequate source of available lipase.
Because fruit or vegetable oils have a low water content, there's insufficient water to "catalyze the hydrolysis of the ester bond". (Principles of Food Chemistry
Fats (one of several lipds) are chemically called triglycerides, and consist of three fatty acid molecules combined with the alcohol glycerol. The biochemical function of lipase is to split fats into their components, specifically to remove two or all three fatty acids from their glycerol base in order to transport the individual components through the intestinal wall. For a more detailed review of lipids and lipase, see our article, "Lipase and Lipids for Health".
Eggs to the Rescue!
If vegetable or fruit oil aren't a good source of "healthy enzymes, like lipase", then what is?
- High in lipds (fat)!
- High in lipase!
- High in water!
Not just any egg will do. They must be raw, uncooked, unpasteurized.
Someone recently asked if factory-processed mayonnaise, such as the ones made with "healthy, organic olive oil", would be a good source of dietary lipase, "because, they contain eggs!"
While factory-produced mayonnaise contains egg yolk, they use pasteurized eggs. Heat destroys lipase, therefore, the lipase in pasteurized eggs is unusable.
See Pastured Eggs for more egg-nutritional benefits.
The Challenge? Finding a Mayo Recipe Everyone Likes!
We had an easier time finding locally-pastured chicken eggs, than we did agreeing on which oil flavor we all liked the best. We attended an olive-oil tasting at Williams-Sonoma, but the only one we could agree on was $25 for 10-ounces! Pricey mayonnaise!
We switched to 100% coconut oil, but the Super-Tasters in our family, curled their noses at the "strong" after-taste of the coconut oil. In general, it seemed the more expensive coconut oils had a stronger flavor, while the opposite was true for olive oil.
Next, we tried a variety of other oils:
- avocado $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
- walnut $$$$$$$$$$$$
- rice bran $$$$$$$$$$
- cold-pressed sunflower $$$$$$
We kept experimenting. The final winner was a 50/50 blend of not-so-pricey coconut-oil from Tropical Traditions (basic centrifuge, big-bucket stuff) and a Trader Joe's organic olive oil. I especially liked having a thicker mayonnaise, the result of the coconut oil which thickens when refrigerated.
In the beginning of our marriage, I'd viewed mayonnaise as nothing more than a tasty-adhesive, making peas stick to pasta, keeping them from rolling onto the floor. Now I view mayonnaise as a biochemistry "gastronomic delight" (Julia Child), turning eggs and oil into a life-giving emulsion.
General Mayonnaise-Making Tips
"Beat the dickens out of it..." - Julia Child
- Take 10-minutes from beginning to end
- All ingredients must be room temperature, including whisk and bowl
- Tools: I prefer a blender 'stick' with a whisk, OR an electric hand-held mixer using a whisk, OR best yet, a French-style balloon hand-whisk
- Food processors and blenders generate too much heat both from the motor and friction of the blade (science 101), and can damage delicate oils (turning olive oil bitter!) or neutralizing the all-important egg yolk lipase
- Blender stick, electric hand-held mixer or hand-whisk are best tools
- Blender or food processor may reduce enzymes which are heat-sensitive
- Never use an aluminum bowl; will turn mayonnaise gray color
- I much prefer fresh mayonnaise, therefore, I make mayo when needed
- If you prefer to store mayo? Use Sally Fallon's method, adding 1 T whey liquid with the lemon juice - extends storage to 2 weeks
- Do not use vinegar in mayo, as vinegar sterilizes your food, neutralizing beneficial enzymes and lactic acid bacteria
- Resist the urge to add more oil; Julie Child's rule-of-thumb: never exceed 1/2-cup of oil per egg yolk
- Don't like strong olive oil? Pickl-It instructor, Lisa of Lisa's Counter Culture recommends a "low polyphenol count, something lower than 300 is more neutral for mayonnaise".
- Always, always, always, hand-whisk the eggs for one-full minute, stick-blend for 30-seconds, before adding other ingredients; they must be thick, sticky and light lemon-yellow and classic "ribbon" consistency" before they're ready to accept the oil (for the emulsion process)
- In place of lemon juice, use Pickl-It Fermented Garlic Brine or Cultured Lemon Brine
- When you add the oil, start with droplets, one after another. THEN, when the sauce thickens, increase the stream - not river - but a steady, tiny, stream of oil.
- Julie Child admonished, repeatedly: one large egg yolk absorbs six ounces or 3/4-cup of oil; more than this, egg yolk has diminished binding properities, creating thin or curdled mayonnaise
For more Julie Child tips, see The Nibble.
Basic Pickl-It Mayonnaise
-adapted from Nourishing Traditions and Julia Child
Creates 1¼ to 1¾ cups finished sauce
“Mayonnaise made by hand or with an electric beater requires familiarity with egg yolks. It is certainly far from difficult once you understand the process, and after you have done it a few times, you should easily and confidently be able to whop together a quart of sauce in less than ten minutes.” - Julia Child
Ingredients - Must Be At Room Temperature
- 1/2- cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2-cup organic coconut oil (the milder, the better)
- 2 pastured egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-type mustard (I use 2 well-rounded teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (important for "cutting" the fat, developing full flavor)
- 1 whole Pickl-It fermented garlic or 1/2 tsp Pick-It garlic brine
- Pinch (generous) of sea salt
- Fork-Whisk Oils: Gently fork-whisk or hand-whisk olive and coconut oil (if solid, gently liquefy by placing bowl in a bowl of warm water) together in a pourable glass measuring cup; set aside
- Whisk Egg Yolks: Place egg yolks in a room-temperature glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl; whisk yolks for at least 1-minute until they're thick, light-lemon colored
- Add Oil Blend: With blender-stick still running, or continually hand-whisking, slowly drizzle coconut/olive oil blend into the egg mixture; typically takes 5-8 minutes with hand-whisk, and 2-3 minutes with stick blender
- Add other ingredients: mustard, lemon juice, and smashed garlic clove (or garlic brine) as well as whey, if used
- Whisk for 6-seconds if using stick blender; 20-seconds for hand-whisk
- Salt-to-taste, whisking briefly
- Spoon into a 3/4-Liter Pickl-Itand snap on lid; insert airlock (if not inserted already); add water to airlock; snap cover onto airlock; place mayo in dark corner of kitchen, covering sides; allow to sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours
- Chill mayonnaise at least 2-hours before using or serving; this will help the mayonnaise to thicken (coconut oil becomes firm)
Why Fats are Beneficial - Interview with Dr. Mary Enig
Know Your Fats - Chris Masterjohn
Lipids - Science! Great for your high-school biochem student!
Food Lipds - Ohio State EDU PDF Presentation (good for those interested in biochemistry)
Utah's Fry Sauce - Utahns, you know what I mean.....
Lipase - University of Maryland
Lingual Lipase - Important for digestion
The Skinny on Fats - Lipids - Weston A Price
The Oiling of America - Sally Fallon & Dr. Mary Enig
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of Olive Fruit - As of 2010, despite the importance of virgin olive oil for nutrition and human health, few studies have been realized on lipase activity in Olea europaea fruits.
Fats & Lipase - Gluten Sensitivity in Lipase-Deficiency Diet
Nutrition - Simple 3-Step Process
Online Educational Videos:
Why Fats Are Beneficial - Dr. Mary Enig Interview
Fats and Oils - Sally Fallon & Dr. Mary Enig
|by Kathleen in Recipes | Permalink|
Did you know...
The medicinal use of cultured and fermented foods dates back thousands of years.
I bought my first batch of Pickl-It jars and am in love. Finally, fermenting is working for me!
—Terri B., Raleigh, NC