A recipe failure – or my not-so-successful attempts at making mayonnaise

Have you ever tried making something, and just failed horribly at it? Maybe you tried making it again, but with the same result.

And then it occurs to you… ‘Maybe this is something that I just can’t make.’

Well, as it turns out, mayonnaise might be one of those things that I just can’t make.

I’ve only been forced to accept a realization like this once before. It was a few years ago, and it was related, of all things, to garlic bread.

See, apparently I can’t make garlic bread by myself. I can get it prepped – I make a pretty awesome garlic butter – and into the oven, but that’s where my success ends. For some reason, I can never get the garlic bread back out of the oven in time. And so I end up with charred pieces of bread that are entirely inedible –  along with a smoke detector that won’t shut up. Luckily, I’m fine if there’s someone else in the kitchen with me; I guess maybe they’re better at paying attention to the garlic bread than I am.

So, yes, I’m a failure at making garlic bread. But I’ve always had success when making other things. Sure, something might be a little off in my first attempt, but I’m always able to fix it the next time around.

And then I tried making mayonnaise.

The first time I tried making mayonnaise, I used my stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Everything seemed to be going fine at first; my egg yolks separated from the whites easily, and they blended well with the spices I was using. But, as I added the oil, I could tell that something wasn’t right. The mixture wasn’t thickening up.

By the time I had added all of the oil, I knew the attempt wasn’t going to work out. I let the mixer whisk for a couple of minutes longer, hoping that some sort of miracle would occur, but eventually had to give up.

I figured that maybe the item I had used to pour my oil hadn’t let the oil pour out slowly enough, so I decided to use something with a better lip next time. I also found that, when I poured out the mixture, the bottom of the bowl was covered in a thick, egg-yolk-and-spice coating. I’m still not entirely sure what happened there, but my best guess was that the bowl was too deep, and the whisk couldn’t quite reach and mix everything.

So I changed tactics on my next attempt. I used a smaller bowl and a measuring cup with an almost spout-like lip on it. I also used my hand blender with the whisk attachment, as the smaller bowl wouldn’t work with the stand mixer.

Well. Not only did this second attempt not work out, it also ended up with droplets of oil and/or egg yolk around my bowl and on my shirt. Although, the odd egg-yolk-and-spice mixture wasn’t on the bottom of the bowl that time.

I admit, I sort of gave up on my mayonnaise attempts after that. I may attempt to make it again one day, but I think I’ll only do so if I have someone there helping me. Because as it stands right now, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. The second measuring cup let the oil come out slowly in a nice, thin stream, just like all of the recipes say it should. And using a smaller bowl and the hand blender whisk meant that all of the ingredients were being mixed at the same time. Yet things still wouldn’t come together – at all.

All of which leaves me with one thought: It’ll take a couple more attempts before I know for sure, but maybe mayonnaise is one of those things I just can’t make.

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