Tonight, I was making us artichokes and though how I’d like to dip my leaves in mayonnaise, one of the only ways I enjoy eating it. Going to the store would have been pretty easy. Grab a jar of Best Foods Mayo and be on my way, but I know how to make mayonnaise. And I have all the ingredients. It requires four ingredients: 1 egg yolk, 1 cup of oil, a pinch of salt and grind of pepper. If you want to get fancy, you can start adding things like mustard, vinegars, herbs, hot sauce. It’s not terribly difficult to make home made mayonnaise; it needs a bowl, a whisk and a strong arm.
I set my egg out to come up to room temperature, and starting cutting the ends off my artichokes, I felt a sense of peace wash over me like I haven’t felt in some time. I dropped the artichokes into 2 inches of water to steam. I set the shrimp out to defrost. I measured out quinoa and water and put it on a low simmer to cook. Our kitchen is tiny, has no counter space and is over all very inefficient, but it’s mine. My kitchen. Some find the kitchen to be a place of stress, a place of burdens. I find a meditative quality cooking; a way for me to clear my thoughts and be creative. And it’s been too long since I’ve spent some time in here.
The egg has come up to room temperature and I turn my attention to mayonnaise. Dijon mustard, a splash of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper are my choices for this mayonnaise. I plop in the egg yolk into the bowl and whisk. Now, the magic comes. I drizzle a thin ribbon of grapeseed oil into the egg yolk and whisk. Another drizzle and whisk again. Soon, the mixture starts to thicken and rise up the sides of the bowl. Creamy, tangy and ever so fatty, finished with a sharp zip of lemon juice at the end. It probably would have taken me longer to go to the store and get mayonnaise than it did to make it at home.
I stare into the bowl and immense satisfaction over comes me. A year and half ago, making home made mayonnaise would have scared me and it probably would have taken twice as long for me to make it. Maybe it would have broken, and I would have given up and gone to the store to buy a jar. It’s just mayonnaise, I know. I am certainly not the only person that makes it at home. But, making it nudged that part of me that longs to be creative. The side of me that is just so pleased that I just whipped up a batch of mayonnaise to eat with my artichokes.
Time to get back in the kitchen.