Please forgive my ribald if terrifyingly apt analogy.
But consider the following dialog (regarding some silly Cincinnati foodblogging drama) that occurred between Julie and myself a while back:
Me: do you really need a pound of flesh here?
Julie: I prefer blood, thank you.
Me: It’s not like Clotide stole your baguettes.
Seriously, only an obsessed and internet-addicted foodie might find that funny, and even under those limited circumstances, the jury is still out. But remember what I wrote earlier about being willing to argue about food? The ancillary problem here is that I have to affirmitively seek out other people willing to share my obsessions.
This is why Julie is a trip.
She turned me on to this goofy site called Foodbuzz a while back, which I guess is this sort of social networking site for foodies. I tend to think most of these sites are silly, but it’s been fun. I’ve discovered a few intesting blogs: Tamarind Trees has about a dozen Southeast Asian recipes I can’t wait to try, The Pink Peppercorn is a talented photographer (not to mention a great cook), and abadeeba has some fun stuff and sound food advice.
I mention all of this because I was thinking today about the “healthy exchange” Julie and I shared at the Mercantile Library during this blogging event (don’t laugh) we attended. Imagine forty people in a room looking at a large overhead projector, and two people off to the side arguing at the top of their lungs about mayo.
Julie’s point was that aioli was not the same thing as garlic mayonnaise. Aioli evolved from basically whipped olive oil with some garlic added, whereas classic mayonnaise involves the emuslification of oil and egg. I countered that regardless of its origins, aioli has come to mean a mayo with garlic added. Some places, like the fantastic Brugge Brasserie in Indianapolis, draw a distinction based on the type of garlic added (roasted garlic mayo versus a sharper aioli with raw minced garlic, both of which are quite tasty I might add), and questioning aioli’s authenticity is basically the same as saying modern ketchup isn’t really ketchup because it doesn’t include fish guts.
I digress. Anyway, after extensive research consulting Wikipedia, I did, in fact, learn that, yes, aioli has not always included egg, but it was traditionally thickened with bread crumbs.
Fascinating, no? But this was one of those arguements that absolutely had to occur. And it’s not like one can just call one’s friends and start in about emulsified sauces. We seeks out and nurture specific foodie friendships, don’t we? And the more obsessed we get, the more things only make sense to our inner circle.
Anyway, here is how I do MY mayo:
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of oil. Most of this should be neutral, a little of it should be reasonably good olive oil.
1/2 lemon juice
1/2 t dijon mustard
1/8 t saffron
pinch of table salt
In a smallish bowl, whisk the egg yolk together with most of the lemon juice and all of the mustard. Add the salt and saffron. While Whisking, SLOWLY drizzle in the oil, add the remainder of the lemon juice if your mixture gets too rubbery.
Remember, go slowly with the oil. A drop at a time for the first few seconds, and then you can increase it to a light drizzle.
Serve with a loaf of homemade bread that you are too lazy to post the recipe for.