Beatrice's Blender Mayo

My grandmother Beatrice, or Bea, was like the Scottish terrier of grandmothers: stout, scrappy, and she tended to stiffen up a little bit when you hugged her. But she was charmingly eccentric (she had a darkroom in her basement, a kiln, cake decorating station, and a lot of other stuff I really shouldn't discuss) and she was cool, and a great friend in the truest sense of the word, so I don't care how corny it sounds: I miss her and think about her all the time. And I've been thinking about her a lot more, lately.

She also cared about food, and always had a giant country ham on her kitchen counter in case anyone got peckish while visiting her. Rather than the cameras, the furniture, the alligator train case, one of my favorite things left to me by Bea is this recipe. If you've never made your own mayo, do so right this instant, because it's just another example of how a simple recipe can change your quality of life (and save you money, although you can't, of course, keep fresh mayo in the refrigerator for a zillion years like the stuff in a jar but this doesn't make a ton and it just takes a few minutes). I have the original, jotted on a notepad, that she gave to me over 20 years ago.

I was living with her in Virginia for a summer before moving north--which would change my life in great ways--during which time I drove her to North Myrtle Beach to stay for a week with her sister Gertie, in Gertie's condo. During the daytime I'd go to the beach and Gertie and Bea would hang around the pool or read or . . . I'm not really sure what they did actually. What do cute old ladies do at the beach? I took them to the hair salon, to be coiffed. They played cards. We visited with my Aunt Mariah, who was also around, while my Uncle John golfed. At night we'd cook--but only after Gertrude and Beatrice had put on their muumuus, and Gertie had mixed drinks and, on a couple of nights, put out cold shrimp with cocktail sauce.

The may recipe is from one of my favorite dinners of all time: great tomatoes from a roadside vegetable stand, slices of chicken that Gertie had just roasted, Bea's blender mayonnaise, with lots of black pepper and salt. I usually only give the recipe to people I really really like, but in celebration of life heading in a great direction again, toward doing the things I really want to do rather than silly things other people want me to do, I offer it up here for anyone who wants it.

Bea's Blender Mayo (verbatim)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup of salad oil [by this she meant Wesson]
  • Break egg in blender and add salt, mustard, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of oil. Cover and turn blender on low speed. Immediately uncover, with blender on, and pour remaining oil in slow steady stream. Cut off motor [this means "turn off" in Southern] and stir. Turn on blender briefly. Be sure blender is dry when you start.
One thing she doesn't mention in the recipe is that you should have everything at room temperature before you start. Obviously, you can use different oils, such as olive or walnut or grape-seed or peanut (just make sure it's fresh, and make sure the eggs are super-fresh, too). And you can add garlic to make aioli, or soft herbs. Don't keep it longer than two days in the fridge. And don't leave it sitting out on the counter, crazy.

Next up: my Aunt Mariah's Parker House rolls, but I'll have to call her to ask her if I can post the recipe, first.


  1. i love it. and am waiting with bated breath for the parker house rolls. i LOVE parker house rolls.

  2. Gotta love family recipes that come with memories. Here's to life heading in a great direction!