|Homemade mayonnaise with fresh basil|
Seven years ago this weekend, my younger son, Weston, got sick. Really sick. He was two years old. Days of violent diarrhea took us to the emergency room - not the best place to be on a holiday weekend. On Memorial Day, the tests came back showing salmonella. The salmonella bacteria had entered his bloodstream. Salmonella sepsis is life-threatening, especially in the very old, the immunocompromised, and the very young. Weston was very, very young.
|Weston in the hospital|
They put him in the hospital, put tubes in his little arms, dripped antibiotics into his little veins. The first antibiotic didn't work. The second one, stronger, did. After a few days in the hospital the diarrhea slowed. The craters under his cheekbones filled in. He started to smile a little, started to eat a little. I gave him french fries, chocolate milk, ice cream, pancakes with awful hospital syrup. Anything to make the bones disappear back into his skin.
Weston could have died. In a third-world country he probably would have. We don't know how he got salmonella. The whole family had been eating the same things. It wasn't from raw eggs. Our best guess is unwashed strawberries (they're often fertilized with chicken manure) or undercooked chicken sausage. None of the rest of us got sick. But salmonella finds the very old, the immunocompromised, and the very young.
Every night before Weston goes to sleep he asks me to tell him a story. He prefers stories about when he was a baby. One night I tried to tell him the story of his battle with salmonella poisoning. He stopped me cold. "I don't ever want to hear that one," he said.
For the past seven years I have refused to make homemade mayonnaise. I have refused to make a real Caesar salad. No hollandaise, no poached eggs, no eggs over easy. No runny yolks, period. You can understand why. Raw eggs didn't give Weston salmonella, but four out of five reported cases of salmonella come from raw eggs. Food-borne illness seems like a longshot, raw eggs a chance worth taking. Until it happens to you. Or, worse, to your baby.
|Safest Choice Eggs, pasteurized in the shell|
I met the people from Safest Choice Eggs at Camp Blogaway a few weeks ago. They've found a method of pasteurizing raw eggs in the shell. Milk is pasteurized at high temperature for a short time. Safest Choice Eggs are pasteurized at low temperature for a long time. They look, feel and act like any other raw egg. Except they have zero chance of giving you salmonella. Which means you can make mayonnaise, hollandaise, Caesar salad, eggnog, and all the other delicious things raw eggs make possible. With zero percent chance of getting sick.
|I like basil mayonnaise on a tomato sandwich - what about you?|
Today, for the first time, I made mayonnaise. And then, yes, I cried. And then I sat down to write. Because Weston may not want to hear the story of the time he got salmonella poisoning and could have died. But you should hear it. It's an important story for everyone who eats and especially for those of us who feed our families. Food-borne illness is real. Some chances are not worth taking.
|Coming soon: The epic battle between Selmer (Weston's stuffed white blood cell, left, courtesy of his grandparents) and Salmy (Weston's stuffed salmonella microbe, right, courtesy of Safest Choice Eggs)|
Note: I was not compensated in any way by Safest Choice Eggs for this post, other than the free carton of eggs and the stuffed salmonella toy they sent home for Weston.
Homemade mayonnaise with basil
Thanks to Safest Choice Eggs for the recipe and the eggs (all Camp Blogaway attendees got a coupon for a free carton). I see grilled chicken sandwiches in my future.
- 1 whole Safest Choice raw pasteurized egg
- 1 Safest Choice raw pasteurized egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Combine the whole egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse to combine.With the motor running, dribble in the olive oil very slowly. The mayonnaise will emulsify and thicken. It should take at least three or four minutes to add all the oil.When the mayonnaise is creamy and thickened, add the basil to the blender or food processor and pulse until it's combined with the mayonnaise.Serve as a dip with cut-up vegetables, as a sauce with grilled chicken or fish, or on a tomato sandwich.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 1/4 cups