No mayonnaise without eggs

One of the characteristics of the egg is the emulsifying ability of the yolk. An emulsifier makes it possible to mix naturally immiscible liquids with each other and keep them mixed. Everyone knows that oil and water don't mix. If we make a salad dressing of just oil, vinegar and some spices, you will notice that almost immediately after we stop mixing (shaking), the oil floats on top of the vinegar. If we add a little egg yolk to the mixture and shake again, you will see that the oil and vinegar remain mixed. This effect is due to the substance lecithin, which is found in large quantities (about 10 percent) in egg yolk. This property of the egg yolk became known in France as early as the 18th century, when an emulsion of egg, oil and vinegar, known as mayonnaise, made its appearance.

Mayonnaise stories

There are several stories about the origin of this world-famous sauce. The Spanish Island of Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea plays an important role in all these stories. This island, in the possession of the English since 1708, was conquered by the French in 1756 under the leadership of Marshal Richelieu. The story goes that in the port town of Mahon, the marshal managed to win the heart of a woman who therefore revealed to him some secrets of Menorcan cuisine, including a simple sauce of olive oil mixed with vinegar, egg, mustard and garlic.

Another story tells that during the conquest, the French retreated to the port town of Mahon. The English laid siege to the city and a bad supply situation arose for the French in the town. Supplies ran out and the marshal's chef managed to make a tasty sauce from the few ingredients he had at his disposal. Since the siege of Mahon, this sauce has been known as Sauce Mahonnaise.


Published: 13-01-2024