Growing up, I never liked mayonnaise. I thought that something with the consistency of pudding should not be savory, salty, OR tangy. It went against the natural order. I also found it mysterious and vaguely sinister. Not understanding the science behind emulsification, I couldn’t fathom how clear, liquid oil and vinegar could create a creamy white spread. The fact that a raw egg yolk—another ominous ingredient to a child—resided somewhere within this amalgam only added to my aversion. It was, in a word, icky.
Over the years, I dabbled in mustard. When eating out, “Hold the mayo!” was my standard order, and I’d always request oil and vinegar on my subs and hoagies in place of the dreaded spread. As I got older, though, I decided it was time to evolve my palate. I hadn’t liked ketchup as a child either, but I’d started enjoying it on french fries. While I wasn’t ready to embrace real mayonnaise (my irrational fixation on the raw egg yolk having been ingrained in my subconscious), I did try some of the vegan versions and, to my surprise, I liked them. What I didn’t like was that they all contained soy, an ingredient I was trying to avoid.
I heard about Just Mayo when its producer, Hampton Creek Foods, was sued by Unilever (owner of Best Foods and Hellman’s mayonnaise) for false advertising, claiming that Just Mayo did not meet the legal definition of mayonnaise since it isn’t made with eggs. This lawsuit (since dropped) had the unintended effect of bringing the company to my attention and making me a loyal customer, because I bought a jar and discovered that I loved it!
Just Mayo has the look, texture, and flavor of real mayonnaise, but it’s suitable for vegans and weirdos like me. I gave some to my mother, a regular consumer of mayonnaise, and she agreed that if I hadn’t told her it wasn’t the real thing, she wouldn’t have known the difference. I now gleefully eat it on sandwiches and use it in recipes calling for mayonnaise.
In addition to 16 oz. glass jars of the original spread, Just Mayo comes in 8 oz. squeeze bottles with flavors like Chipotle, Garlic, and Sriracha. I like to use the Chipotle version as a dip for french fries and have been known to smuggle a bottle into restaurants in my purse.
The mission of Hampton Creek Foods is to make sustainable, plant-based foods that taste like familiar favorites, but are better for the planet. By replacing eggs with ingredients like yellow-pea protein and sorghum, the company uses less energy and resources to produce its products. Along with Just Mayo, Hampton Creek Foods makes an eggless cookie dough (safe to eat raw!) and is working on perfecting a plant-based version of scrambled eggs.
Now that I’ve overcome my mayonnaise malaise, I no longer say, “Hold the mayo!” Instead, I hold the Just Mayo and dip my knife in.