Mayonnaise or mayo, an emulsion of egg yolk and oil is a fluffy and pale white uncooked sauce, usually served cold. . Other ingredients like salt, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and pepper are added for flavoring the sauce. Technically speaking, mayonnaise is a sauce but due to its texture and easy availability it is also popularly used as a spread, dip, dressing, and garnish and as an ingredient in recipes. Some popular mayonnaise dishes are salads, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and dips.
Although, mayonnaise can be made with basic ingredients and cooking aids at home, the many varieties, right texture and flavor,  and easy availability has made the commercial mayonnaise more popular than the homemade one. Moreover, preparing mayonnaise requires time and practice which again makes it less favorable over the readymade mayonnaise. Eggless and Fatless versions of readymade mayonnaise are by far the most popular these days due to obvious reasons.



The Origin & Historical Background Of Mayonnaise

It is said that the recipe for mayonnaise was originally brought to France from a Spanish town by the name of Mahon. Till today the town is popular as the birthplace of mayonnaise. However, it is believed that mayonnaise was popularized by the French particularly during the times of Duc de Richelieu when it was created by his French chef who had to prepare a meal for the king after his big win at a war. During that era, sauces were mostly made using oil and cream, however, on the day of preparation the cream was out of stock and the chef decided to use egg instead. The resultant sauce was well appreciated and soon became a staple at the king’s court. Thus, began the journey of mayonnaise across Europe.
During the beginning of the 20th century a German couple migrated to the US where they introduced mayonnaise to the customers in their café. Soon the customers demanded to carry mayonnaise at home and gradually the couple began marketing and selling readymade mayonnaise in jars across America.


The Culinary Uses Of Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is equally popular as an accompaniment, dipping sauce salad dressing and as a spread for sandwiches. Sandwiches using mayonnaise as a spread are popularly sold as a snack across the world. It is also used as dressing for many world famous salads.
Other than in its own form, mayonnaise is also used as a base to create more derivatives. Famous mayonnaise derivatives are Tartare, Thousand Island and Cocktail sauce.


Popular Recipes using Mayonnaise
The versatility of mayonnaise has resulted in creation of many famous recipes using it.

Russian Salad: A well-known fruit and vegetable salad tossed in a mayonnaise based Russian dressing.

Fried fish with Mayonnaise – A popular European food, that serve mayonnaise as a dipping sauce with the fish.

Eggless Mayonnaise – Here is a popular eggless mayonnaise recipe made using evaporated milk

Thousand Island Dressing – a very popular derivative of mayonnaise commonly used to dress salads and used as an ingredient.


Popularity of Mayonnaise in World Cuisine

Mayonnaise is an important part of the new world cuisine. Many countries have adopted mayonnaise and modified its recipe using locally available ingredients. In Japan, mayonnaise is commonly made using cider vinegar or rice vinegar and has few traces of Mono Sodium Glutamate added in it. The Russians make mayonnaise with sunflower oil while in the Mediterranean countries it is made with olive oil.
 Some homemade eggless recipes of mayonnaise use milk powder or fresh cream, in India.


Common Preparation Techniques Of Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is made by dropping oil slowly in egg yolk and whisking the mixture till well combined. Lecithin in egg yolk is the element that emulsifys and makes this mixture possible. The trick is to gradually add oil, usually drop by drop using a spoon so as to allow the oil and yolk to combine really well.
Mayonnaise gets curdled easily while making it and the only way out in such a situation is to start again with the yolk of another egg. A couple of  precautions that one can take before beginning to make mayonnaise are  ensuring that all the ingredients are cold and placing ice cubes under the vessel used to make mayonnaise, in case of hot weather.


Nutritive Value Of Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is loaded with oil and contains egg yolk which has high fat content, thus it is a calorie laden food. However, it has all the goodness of egg and oil in it. There are many fat-free and egg-free versions of mayonnaise available in the market which may prove to be much lighter than the homemade versions.


Mayonnaise Buying & Storing Tips

Homemade mayonnaise stays for a week in the refrigerator, it is not advisable to freeze it or store it at room temperature.
Most store-bought mayonnaise are preserved at room temperature unopened and once opened they need to be refrigerated. In the refrigerator they may last up to 6 months. However, each brand and type of mayonnaise has its own shelf life which is clearly indicated on its label, so the best thing to do is follow the storage instructions given on it.


Ingredients Similar To Mayonnaise

Due to the high calorie content of mayonnaise many people replace it with whipped cream or sour cream. But in no way are they similar in taste or nutrition. It’s because of the likeness in texture that they can be replaced. However, they cannot be substituted in all recipes with each other.


Food and Drug Administration Approval for Mayonnaise

Food and Drug administration has laid down some norms for mayonnaise manufacturers. It insists on having a low fat percentage product and has a cut off limit for the same.  A jar of mayonnaise that meets the Food and Drug Administration criteria can easily be sold across US and has not other sale issues.


Other Uses Of Mayonnaise 

Many use mayonnaise as a conditioner for hair as it has both egg and oil which are believed to naturally condition hair.


Mayonnaise: Trivia

• Oleg Zhornitskiy holds the world record for eating 4 bowls of 32 ounces each in 8 minutes.

• Chile is the world’s 3rd largest and Latin America’s first country in terms of per capita consumption of mayonnaise.