The history of the development of mayonnaise is uncertain. Anne Willan gives a plausible explanation for the origins of mayonnaise in her book, Great Cooks and Their Recipes, where she reasons that it originated in France as the name could have come from the Old French for egg yolk (moyeu).
Homemade mayonnaise is delicious and versatile and not as labour-intensive as one might think! Try this recipe from our Cape Winelands Cuisine Cookbook (page 143).
Cape Mayonnaise Recipe
Makes just more than 2 cups (600 ml):
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp (1 ml) salt
pinch of saffron (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) vinegar
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil
Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt, saffron (if using) and vinegar in a bowl and whisk well.
Slowly trickle in the oil while beating vigorously. Make sure to add the oil very slowly for the fist 7 Tbsp (105 ml) to ensure a stable emulsion.
If the mayonnaise is too thick, add a few drops of water right at the end to thin it out.
The mayonnaise will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.