This is the final post in our long-lasting Cocktails & Mayonnaise series, and we’ve loved every minute of drinking writing about foraged and home-grown cocktails so far!  But what better topic for our grand finale? The missing star of the show… Mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise evokes plenty of responses, from reminiscing about family gatherings (potato salad, deviled eggs, the best part of a burger) to debates about which brand is best (Dukes, obviously) and even revulsion from the mayo-phobic minority. Since we hosted an entire party where the edible portion was mayo-based, it’s pretty clear where we stand. Our lives would not be complete without that creamy, white-ish goodness (get your mind out of the gutter!), and we feel compelled to share the Gospel of Mayonnaise with all those willing to hear the good word. At the Cocktails & Mayo picnic, we chose to focus on two types: homemade and Duke’s.

Of course we made mayo art.

Of course we made mayo art.

Duke’s mayonnaise was a natural choice for us, as it is also a Piedmont native. In the early 1900s, a woman with the enviable name of Eugenia Duke was known among her friends and family as possessing a top-notch recipe for homemade mayonnaise. She lived in Greenville, SC, and when Camp Sevier was constructed in 1917 to help train soldiers for World War I,  she saw those hungry young men as customers. She started making sandwiches using her famous mayo recipe (smart woman) and selling them to the stationed men. Of course, they were a huge hit, of course she expanded to selling sandwiches at local drugstores, and of course that turned into selling the mayonnaise itself to area grocery stores. In 1929, she sold her recipe, and Duke’s has continued expanding its market ever since.

Apron sold separately, not sure about the vacant smile. She might just be daydreaming about what she can make with all that mayo...

Apron sold separately, not sure about the vacant smile. She might just be daydreaming about what she can make with all that mayo…

Simple Homemade Mayo Recipe

Buying your mayonnaise in the store isn’t the only way to acquire this special condiment. You can make your own using a blender or food processor, whisking by hand, or with that antique mayo plunger you have lying around…

Here it is!

Here it is!

2 egg yolks

1 whole egg

2 Tbsp white vinegar

Salt, white pepper, and paprika to taste

2 c. oil (vegetable, sunflower, or other light oil is recommended–we found olive oil to be an overpowering flavor)

Combine eggs, vinegar, salt, pepper, and paprika in your mixer.

Slooooowly drizzle the oil into the mixer while maintaining a constant mix.  It should thicken up the more you add. After about 1 1/2 cups have been added, check the taste and consistency. Too thin, add more oil. Too thick, add more vinegar.

After you have created your emulsion, feel free to mix in any other seasonings you desire. Rosemary, roasted garlic, and dill all sound good to us!

So many things to dip in mayonnaise!

So many things to dip in mayonnaise!

We loved serving our homemade mayo with a buffet of dippers and mixers for a casual and interactive picnic!  Put out deconstructed BLTs (cherry tomatoes, squares of cooked bacon), deconstructed potato salad (chunks of boiled potatoes, diced onion, and chopped celery), along with anything pickled, and an assortment of chopped fresh herbs.  Guests can (and will!) get creative with combinations.

Chocolate-Mayonnaise Cupcakes

For a super-moist and simple chocolate cake.  Especially great for those days you need a chocolaty baked good fix, but seem to be out of milk and eggs…

2 1/3 c flour

1 1/4 c sugar

1/2 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1 c mayonnaise

1 1/4 c brewed cofffee

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix all ingredients until smooth.  Pour into lined cupcake pans.

Bake 10 minutes for mini-cupcakes or 15-20 minutes for full-sized cupcakes (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

To keep it picnic-style simple, just dust with powdered sugar before serving.  No complicated icings required.

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