My lunch today… it illustrates some of the choices (or false choices) we sometimes find ourselves making where the environment is concerned.
I wanted an egg salad sandwich, but I didn’t have any mayonnaise in the house. I could have walked down to the corner store to buy some more, but there I’d be confronted with the choice of plastic or glass jars. I could have simply opted for the glass jar and been done with it, but lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of companies about how their plastic containers are better for the environment because they weigh less and therefore require less fuel to ship.
This is true.
Plastic does weigh less than glass, and it does require less fuel to ship. Perhaps, as far as global warming is concerned, it’s the better choice. But global warming is not our only environmental concern. Plastic, as I’ve written here often, carries with it a whole host of toxicity and pollution issues. And, just as the choice to carry reusable bags makes the question of plastic vs. paper meaningless, there are options to make the question of plastic vs glass containers moot as well!
In the case of dry ingredients, we can often bring our own containers to bulk foods stores and eliminate the need for any new packaging entirely. But what about wet stuff? I have yet to see a bulk container of mayonnaise, and if I did, I think I’d be kind of scared. So, what’s the third option for mayonnaise and other wet condiments?
Make your own!
In the case of mayonnaise, this third option also happens to be really easy, as I discovered today when I whipped up a batch of homemade mayo from a recipe passed on to me by an octogenarian friend who swears she has never bought a jar of prepared mayonnaise in her life. Here are the ingredients:
1 Whole Egg
2 T. Vinegar or Lemon Juice (I used vinegar because I was out of lemons)
1/2 t. Dry Mustard
1/2 t. Salt
1 Cup Salad Oil (I used canola, but you can use any kind you want. Next time I’ll use olive oil for more flavor.)
Place egg, vinegar or lemon juice, seasonings, and 1/4 cup of the oil in the blender in the order indicated. Put on cover. Run blender until contents are thoroughly blended, about 5 seconds. Remove cover. Add remaining oil gradually and run for a few seconds after last oil is added. YIELD: About 1-1/4 cups.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT add all of the oil at once. Do not do this unless you want to waste a whole cup of oil. Remember how I said this recipe is easy? It’s super easy if you read the instructions and follow them. (Anyone have an idea for how I can use my first failed batch?) The second batch came out perfectly.
This recipe came from the instructions for my friend’s Waring blender. Next time, I’m going to try it using a wire whisk instead, as per these instructions from Epicurious.com. Less (electric) energy. Less cleanup mess.
So, here’s my mayonnaise, made from ingredients most of us already have in the house. And yes, it tastes just like the store-bought stuff. Maybe even better.
For the egg salad, I combined the mayo and eggs with Goulden’s spicy mustard from a jar we already had. But once that’s gone, I’ll try making it from scratch as well. Here’s info about making mustard from powder or seeds. Once my mustard powder in the plastic container is used up, I can replace it with bulk mustard powder or seeds from Whole Foods.
Do you have any favorite condiment recipes?
I’m grateful to the people I know were around long before this current age of convenience foods and packaging that is helping to destroy our environment. My friend makes her own mayo in the interest of frugality, not “green living.” She’s a super waste-buster. I and the polar bears thank her.
Now, a post about egg salad would not be complete without a nod to Mystery Men. Enjoy!