Artisanal mayonnaise is giving me a post-modern headache

"These… mayonnaise people. Have I assumed their pretension too harshly? Did I falsely detect a sense of irony so thick they don’t even know when they’re kidding anymore? Why do I assume they aren’t earnest in their love of mayonnaise? They look like nice people." Amber Frost at Dangerous Minds. [I get it, but I'd also like to try some. Maybe they should Put a Bird on It.]


  1. Hmmm, I regularly make my own garlic aioli because it’s delicious and easy.  Why the hate?  Store bought mayonnaise is so different, that I don’t even consider them the same game.

    Why the hate?

    1. I think there’s a difference between A) making your own, and B) making your own, jarring it, and opening up a store in Brooklyn to sell artisinal mayonnaise.

      1. Sure: one person’s enjoying their art and making money and the other is just enjoying their art.

        Clearly the former should STOP MAKING MONEY!

        1. I can only speak for myself, but I think people are more surprised that there’s a shop that is devoted solely to mayonnaise, rather than the fact that somebody is making fancy mayonnaise and selling it. 

          Now mustard though, that is a whole ‘nuther story!

          1. Here in Brooklyn, I mean Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, there is a whole museum devoted to mustard.

    2. I’m torn… I’m constantly hearing about the glories of the “real thing” and about how it’s not real aioli if you just mix crushed garlic into jarred mayo, but I’ve been rendered scared shitless of having anything to do with a raw egg by media panic over salmonella.
      What to do?

        1. Bingo.  The current risk was now lower than 1/30,000 eggs; considering I’m not pregnant and relatively healthy, I just deal with it.  I’ve had food poisoning multiple times, never from raw egg.

        1. There are cookbooks out there that recommend it; it’s not something I made up just to gratuitously commit food blasphemy or anything.
          And I’ve looked and looked and never found a pasteurized egg in any store.

          1. That would be the hard boiled eggs in the deli section. Milk is pasteurized with heat. the only way to pasteurize a raw egg would be radiation.

            If you are worried hand wash the outside of the egg before cracking it.

          2. Eggs can be pasteurized by heating them to below the temperature where they start to ‘cook’ ~140 degrees I think, and maintaining it for a period of time. 

    3. Perhaps you should teach a class to help others make superior mayonnaise.  A sort of “Mayo Clinic,” if you will.

    1. I prefer the organic strangulated peach flavor.  Not so fond of the locally grown suffocated mango, though.

  2. it’s not the handmade mayonnaise you’re hating, it’s the flagrant continuation of the neutering of the word “artisanal”.

    1. I don’t know man… I would happily trade away the “special unique snowflake” aspect of the “artisanal” adjective if in return I was getting back the availability of an “artisanal” version of random stuff like mayonnaise.

      (Though I do have to agree with the article that from the picture and website it is really hard to gauge the sincerity of these mayonaise specialists.)

    2. But are they? These aren’t artisanal doritos; it’s some dude making stuff from scratch (I assume). That’s the proper use of the term.

    3. All you have to do is wait. Just as the word “gourmet” ceased to have any real meaning, once the marketing departments of the world get down with it neither will “artisinal”.

  3. Personally, if they labeled it “Intestinal Mayonnaise” instead, I’d probably buy a lot more of it.

  4. I wouldn’t want to judge their mayos before tasting them.

    The question is, though, should such a tasting be done blind? On the one hand, that’s the only fair way of comparing their products as actual mayonnaises. You know, the stuff you actually eat.

    On the other hand, part of the value of their mayos is the experience of participation in wholesome all-natural upper-middle-class artisanal bobo culture, as opposed to the unthinking conformity and proletarian mass production connoted by “store-bought brands”. At the very least, I want to read the ingredient list.

    Also I love how the artisans dress and live with a mayonnaise theme.

    1. Luckily they have all the ingredients on the website.

      Not sure if I’d pay $7 for one of those little jars, but as someone who’s allergic to soy (the basis of all commercially produced mayo that’s in stores and restaurants) the idea of having different flavored condiments that are accessible to me (all hail canola oil) is really tempting.

      1. They have gums and “a touch” (not kidding) of potassium sorbate in their base mayo, which is definitely a point against them, even if they may be necessary for practical reasons. Also I’d be more impressed if they used olive oil rather than canola oil.

        1. Olive oil tends to cause problems in mayo that’s mechanically mixed. It tends to cause a metallic or bitter flavor. So without the other hallmarks of processed mayo it’s unlikely you could avoid that while still making the stuff in quantity. 

      2. If you’re allergic to soy, Best Foods/Hellman’s makes a Canola mayonnaise that doesn’t contain it. And it’s widely available in all supermarkets.

    2. It’s a bit expensive, I know, but little Ethan is allergic to common store bought mayonnaise (not soy though, we put soy milk in his organic fair-trade lattes).

      And nothing goes better in a locally produced Groeschel Farms bacon, curly lolo lettuce, and heirloom black tomato sandwich.

  5. Duke’s real Mayonnaise. 
    In places where you can’t get it, that artisanal stuff will just have to do. 

    1. Glorious, glorious Duke’s mayo. My brother makes special orders over the web so he can get it in Portland…

      I’d almost think a Southern food specialty store would do very well there.

    2. It’s good to see I’m not the only one whose thoughts drifted lightly back to Duke’s. Potato salad and broccoli salad just aren’t the same without it.

    3. I’m in CA and I gotta have my Duke’s Mayo for chicken, tuna, and potato salad, and sometimes just for my finger when it falls into the jar. I get four jars shipped out every few months, and short of making my own (which is so damned easy) it’s Duke’s I crave.

      Or you can go your local Japanese market and get some Kewpie Mayonnaise. Use it as a dipping sauce for cold leftover General Tso’s Chicken and prepare to be lifted to heaven.

  6. I can’t find the word “artisinal” on Empire’s website, the author’s tone is arbitrary, and that product looks tasty.

    Even re-read the article and the author’s still a jerk. Get over it and dig the tasty aioli.

  7. This mayo bullshit is like the Renegade Craft Fair.  They have some really cool stuff there but super pricey, and it’s really fucking annoying that doing crafts your grandmother did is somehow RENEGADE.

    1. And needs to be priced high as some lame attempt to be compensated fairly for the hours spent in production of the item.  I mean, come on, there is a REASON Hellman’s bought all those 10,000 gallon whip mixers: to move massive product at next-to-zero cost.  I love crafts.  Love makerliness.  Love hands-on.  Do NOT enjoy the prices of most shit at craft fairs.

      1. That’s actually a huge problem with this whole “made in Brooklyn” thing and this a great example. A lot of these companies put an exorbitant amount of money into needless store fronts, “cool” packaging, absurd PR events, and similar expenditures. The result is a product like mayonnaise which cost very little to make running at $7 bucks a jar and still not being profitable.

    2.  They probably mean it ironically, because the poor hipsters can’t just enjoy doing something their elders did.

      1. Or maybe they’re enjoying themselves rediscovering what their grandparents did but their parents abandoned.

        Anti-hipsters do seem to love their artisanal snark.

  8. 1. Don’t see the point in artisinal mayonnaise. The stuff takes a few minutes to make and the ingredients for a batch will cost pennies. The results will blow anything in a jar out of the water.

    2. Actually more annoyed by the comments so far aioli is not flavored mayonnaise. aioli is an emulsion of olive oil into garlic, depending on the style some egg yolk or mustard can be used to help the emulsion form and remain stable. But in real aioli garlic and oil are the major ingredients, where as in mayonnaise the major ingredients are egg yolk and oil. Aioli is also frequently served as a dip as opposed to being used exclusively as a condiment.

  9. I reserve judgement on the snooty artisanal mayo people, but having made my own mayo a time or two, I do believe that one could be sincere in a love and reverence for homemade mayo. It’s a damn shame that the U.S. knows only one type of egg/oil emulsion as “mayonnaise.” The variety and complexity of flavors that can be worked into this simple sauce is astounding.

  10. Nice close minded drivel.

    In Mexico, I saw an entire walmart aisle dedicated to various types of mayo.

    Artisanal mayo isn’t what’s fucking stupid here.

    1. Agreed.  When Gwyneth and I toured Spain in her Mercedes we experienced the most wonderful flavours of mayonnaise that have never been dreamt of by the hoi polloi shuffling lazily through Wal Mart.

      1. You must not live in Southern California. Only the maids drive Mercedes. Except in less nice areas, where they still drive Cadillacs.

    2. Well, I’m not qualified to hold much of an informed, responsible, sophisticated opinion since A) I eat and enjoy lots of mass-produced processed foods, including Steak-Umms, Kraft Singles, Chicken McNuggets, and Heinz ketchup, and B) I’ve always thought that every mayonnaise and mayo substitute I’ve ever tasted was about as appetizing as fresh-squeezed birdshit.  I rarely feel compelled to choose “artisanal” foods of any kind, partly because of the always-exorbitant price but partly just because my stunted taste buds can’t really tell the difference between the handmade good stuff and the mass-produced bad stuff.

      Still, the article annoyed me more than the idea of an artisanal mayo store does.  Even though it’s almost exactly the same opinion I myself hold of the store and its proprietors, it’s an opinion that, in my opinion, should be kept strictly to oneself.  Yeah, I think that, on paper, the very idea of “artisanal mayonnaise” sounds like a gross misallocation of resources and a colossal waste of time and energy, but I also recognize that I don’t like mayo, I’ve never been to the store in question nor sampled their wares nor met the owners, and that it’s quite likely that plenty of people out there positively love their shit and can’t wait to plonk down seven bucks for a wee jar of the stuff, and consider it money well-spent.

      Knowing and recognizing these things, I keep my mouth shut.  I am old enough and experienced enough and mature enough to know that my opinions are not necessarily shared by anyone, let alone everyone.

      But still.  On the store’s own website can be found this sentiment:

      We’ve also switched to a single farm supplier for our eggs – Cascun Farms. This is a huge benefit to us, as we are able to monitor the health and happiness of our eggs as closely as possible, and maintain the highest possible quality.

      The “happiness of our eggs”?  Then they’re just cold-blooded egg-murderers.

  11. From the mayo website found connections to:

    The D.P. Chutney Collective.
    “I knew that chutney wasn’t on every grocery list along with eggs and milk. I’m not peddling salsa or preserves, something everyone is completely familiar with. I did however believe there was a market for carefully crafted condiments…”

    and All Natural Grass Fed Handcrafted Koren BBQ flavor Beef Jerky.

    These hipster foodies are just getting fucking desperate.

    1. There are supermarkets here that don’t carry chutney. And grass-fed beef tastes better and is better for you.

      If you want to just dust off whatever you find in you path and shove it in your mouth, go ahead, but some people like to enjoy what they eat.

  12. I just want to say that I grew up with Hellman’s and that the Hellman’s I grew up on is a damn good, workable mayo that no one should be ashamed to use, ever.  And then they went and changed their recipe a few years ago like a bunch of morons and now the stuff tastes approximately halfway between what it used to be and Miracle Whip and I just can’t stand to buy it anymore.  But as near as I can tell, there is NO mayo out there now that measures up to the Hellman’s standard.  So what’s a girl to do?  Make my own, or buy someone else’s homemade, I guess.  

    Hellman’s, oh Hellman’s, why’da have to go and make my life so complicated????

  13. There is only one true Mayo:

    Blue Plate

    Eat it and you will realize how god awful everything else is.

  14. I’m a poor judge of how good or bad their business plan is, since I’m a rural Midwesterner, but that seems awfully specialized.

    On the other hand, it takes more effort to make mayonnaise than it does to write a snarky blog entry that declares the venture to be “fucking stupid” (I’m sure the market will prove that to be true, but we could be wrong) and maybe they source excellent ingredients that make for the most amazing mayonnaise ever.  I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten real mayonnaise.

    As an aside,  it bugs me that so much of the world’s food comes from the Midwest, but we have so much crap food here.

  15. I don’t get the hipster bashing that is so common.  What’s wrong with making stuff, finding and creating new markets?  People who work for themselves and do something different are pretentious scum?

    Far better they don the shortsleeve collar shirt and grind it out in a cubicle maze like all the naysayers. 

    Seriously, if you don’t like the idea, don’t buy it.  I don’t like a lot of shit, which I also don’t buy.  But I don’t go making an ass of myself trashing other people who like gefilte fish or sportscars or whatever. 

    If nobody likes their special mayonnaise, they will go out of business.  At least they are trying something different, and good for them.

      1.  I thought my headaches were caused from eating too much artisanal mayonnaise, but it turned out that my fedora was too tight.

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