For our Foodie Friday exploration this week, let’s consider an item that you probably have in your fridge – mayonnaise. I’m a big fan of the stuff, so much so that I used to get through periods of study in my dorm room with a box of Saltines and a jar of Hellman’s. Of course, now that I’ve moved down south, Duke’s is my mayo of choice. In fact, some folks refer to Duke’s as the mother sauce of the south. I don’t disagree.
Mayo is pretty simple stuff when you think about it. An egg, some lemon juice or vinegar or mustard (or all of the above), some salt and pepper, and vegetable oil is thrown together in a blender, food processor, or even just a bowl (fire up those whisking muscles) and you’ve got mayo. You can add herbs, adobo, sriracha, or just about anything else you’ve got lying around for additional flavor, but plain mayo is one of my favorite kitchen items.
You probably spread it on sandwiches. It there anything better than a tomato sandwich in summer? I think mayo makes that happen. Can one have a BLT without mayo? Not in my book. I’m a mayo on burger guy too (hey it’s really a BLT with a meat patty on it when you think about it). There are many other things to do with mayo that you might not have thought about. For example, the next time you make a grilled cheese, spread mayo on the outside instead of butter. You’ll thank me later. Rub it on your steaks before grilling. Not only will your seasonings adhere well but your steak won’t adhere to the grill. It doesn’t drip onto the flame either, so no flair-ups.
Mayo in baked goods? Well yeah – it’s eggs and oil, mostly. A little salty as well. How is a cake or muffin not made better? Coating anything you’re going to bread? Hell yes. It’s essential in Mexican Street Corn, even if you’re making it in a casserole dish and not on the grill. And did you know that we can learn some business from mayo too?
Here we have something that is all of the most basic ingredients transformed into something incredibly versatile. It’s what I always looked for in team members when I was hiring. Who understood the fundamentals? Who would work well with other equally qualified individuals? Who was capable, with some extra additions, of transforming into something different and perhaps even better? Who could be used for a seemingly endless variety of tasks?
I’m usually out of one thing or another in my kitchen but I am NEVER out of mayo. Hopefully, you’re thinking of it in a new light, just as you are about the types of folks you want on your team. What do you think?