Remember back, way back, to when warm afternoons were filled with fun “Duck, Duck, Goose!” “Red Rover, Red Rover,” and “Kick-the-Can.”   Such a highlight of childhood days, I remember begging my mom, “Please Mama, may I …?”

Mom’s approving “okay”—mothers seem to always know what’s best, meant everything.

I got to play the “Mother May I” game again recently…only I was the one saying, “Yes you may.”  Last week, Lori and her son Jacob joined me for lunch.  With the salad, Jacob asked Lori, “Mom, can I have mayonnaise on my salad?”  Lori hesitated to answer then squeamishly said, “On the side.”   She tries to limit the amount of fat in the foods Jacob eats–after all too much could increase his weight too much and risk of heart disease.  Lately however, Jacob had taken a relentless liking to the creamy tang, especially on fresh salads and vegetables, which before, she couldn’t get him to touch.

“What should I do?” she queried.

Sure limiting fat is good, especially saturated fat.

We have gotten so accustomed to the conveniently purchased jars of delectable ivory spread that it is easy to forget it begins with a round golden globe—in French the moyeu meaning “egg yolk” and perhaps the origin of the name “mayonnaise.”  The compact yolk is where the villainous saturated fat and cholesterol resides.  However, before “mother may I…” receives the “No you may not,” mayonnaise is mostly made from vegetable oils.  Store bought mayonnaise recipes have to be 65% oil by weight.  A typical mayo recipe whisks 1-cup vegetable oil with that single yolk to make over a cup of mayonnaise.  One serving, 1 tablespoon, counts the same as 1 teaspoon of margarine or other unsaturated oil.

When making your own, rape seed or white sesame seed oil creates a lighter flavor while extra virgin olive oil births the distinct flavors of the living earth.

Today, we are fortunate to have even more choices–low-fat (must contain less than 3 grams of fat per serving) and fat-free mayonnaise, salad dressing which is sweeter and made with no eggs, tofu mayonnaise as well as creative recipes for tofu and low-fat yogurt mayonnaises.

Whether you choose the convenience of purchasing your mayo, start from scratch or enjoy the alternative tofu or yogurt, you’ll have your friends and family asking, “May we have more?” when you blend in spices, herbs and chopped vegetables to make a southwestern aioli, dilly tartar sauce, savory Thousand Island dressing or other creative favorite.

Spanish-style Aioli 
2 tbs. sherry vinegar
1 egg yolk (very fresh)
2 tbs. chopped garlic
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Put egg yolk and chopped garlic into a blender or food processor. Whirl until garlic is smooth.  With the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream, until the sauce is thick and emulsified.   Add the vinegar and salt.  The sauce should be creamy and will have a nice garlic bite.  Use within 3 days.

Makes about 20 servings

Per serving
Calories                       104.5
Protein                           .2g
Carbohydrate              0.1g
Fiber                            0.01g
Total Fat                     11.5g
Saturated Fat               1.7g
Polyunsaturated Fat   1.04g
Monounsaturated Fat   8.7g
Cholesterol                  10.6mg
Sodium                        58.6 mg