I believe there is almost NOTHING mayonnaise cannot do. I love it more than is likely acceptable, but to say that it is a staple is to grossly understate it’s place in my home. It’s the fourth tool for McGyver (with a match, a shoe string, and ... Well, there was something else). As a kid my dad would make us peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. It is the guilty pleasure my family shares and we love it! It’s still my go-to comfort food.

As my palate developed in my teens, twenties etc... I never could shake my mayo habit. Besides being an excellent sandwich spread, it is the best chicken salad binder, and the only thing that serves as a suitable base for sauces such as horseradish and remoulade. I have tried yogurt and sour cream before, but mayonnaise has the exact right consistency and it is creamy without being too heavy, salty enough but not so much as to overpower any added flavoring agents, and it can be thinned with broth, water, or lemon juice without breaking. I won’t lie, I would and have eaten it with a spoon.

A key to my continued love of mayonnaise throughout my increased knowledge of culinary things is that it is a simple food. It is not concocted of strange things that have to be processed to create it. If I were living on a primitive farm, I could make mayonnaise and it would be fabulous. I wouldn’t long for a hydrogenized widget machine to add the final touch. I heard once during an IACP (culinary conference) talk on truffles that a raw truffle could be kept fresh among eggs and infuse them with it’s unique flavor... Oh to make mayonnaise with one of THOSE eggs.

Why “canola” may be a question on the reader’s mind. For me, it is a taste thing. I simply like the neutrality of the canola oil. Canola oil has health benefits with all it’s wonderful monounsaturated fats and no cholesterol but those are just bonus points. It is great to know that something you love so dearly is A – not heinously expensive, B – such a kitchen multitasker, and C – doesn’t expire 10 days after it enters your house. In summation, I love mayonnaise.

Check out our picks for the best canola mayonnaise in our 2010 Taste Test Awards. And also find quick tips for making homemade sauces, marinades, and more in New Uses for Everyday Ingredients. One of my favs: stir in lemon juice, minced garlic, and parsley to mayo for a perfect dip for crudités or oven fries.