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13 Apr

Ever wondered about the ubiquitus mayonnaise that forms the binder for so many of our sandwich fillings and the base of many salads?

I remember one of the first cook books that was gifted to me was this cookbook from Cal and it had a receipe for homemade mayo! I remember my rather pathetic attempts (actually most of my attempts were pathetic back then)to make it… somehow it never came together the way the commercial one did.. and in those days, very honestly, if I could get it off the shelf, it seemed lunacy to try and recreate it in my kitchen.. didn’t they always tell you at work, dont reinvent the wheel? Then why reinvent the mayo?

However, in my new found “good cook” avataar, I decided to try and make mayo at home.. was googling for a good recipe when I came across rather interesting tid bits about the origins for mayo. So for the moment, the mayo forgotten, here is the history of mayo!

According to Patricia B Mitchell, one of the stories is that mayo was invented in 1756 to commemorate a victory at the start of the Seven Years War, the successful siege of English-held St. Philip’s Castle. Located in Mahón, port city and the capital of Minorca, its loss resulted in the loss of the entire island. French Admiral La Galissoniére and Louis François Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu, commanded the siege, after which a sauce was christened “mahonnaise.”

Another story says that in 1756, mayonnaise was invented in France by Duke de Richelieu’s chief. Who knows maybe the above “mahonnaise” sauce debuted at a banquet in honor of Richelieu?

There are other stories that say that it may have been derived from the French word manier: to handle, to feel, to ply; or possibly to stir or blend or perhaps the name came from the old French word for egg yolk, moyen.

The other interesting one is that the sauce was unnamed until after the Battle of Arques in 1589. It was then christened “Mayennaise” in memory of Charles de Lorraine, duc de Mayenne, because he took time to finish his meal of chicken with cold sauce before being defeated in battle by Henri IV! Now that one I can buy! That sounds completely and perfectly French!

In all that googling for a recipe and history of the mayonnaise have lost my enthu to actually make the mayonnaise 😦 maybe tomorrow?