The Store-Bought Ingredient Rachael Ray Hates

A familiar face on the Food Network, Rachael Ray is a plainspoken cook who creates simple recipes that are a breeze to whip up at home with basic pantry staples. However, there's one common store-bought ingredient that this culinary businesswoman hates; mayo. According to an interview with Eating Well, Ray explained that she dislikes this creamy condiment because of its "shelf-stable" nature and texture.

Indeed, on an old episode of the "Rachael Ray" show (where she was helping to prepare a fish dish topped with the eggy condiment) she talked about her mayophobia directly: "I don't dig store bought mayonnaise. We did not grow up with mayonnaise in my house." She added, "the consistency is weird to me. I love to make aioli or mayonnaise and I will eat it if I make it, but there's something about a shelf-stable egg that freaks me out. So I have a fear of mayonnaise." Further proof that this TV chef dislikes the taste and texture of store-bought mayo? Her tuna salad recipe. Ray omits the mayo in her version of this classic American dish, and purposefully prepares it with a lighter dressing made of olive oil and zesty lemon that allows the taste of the protein to shine through.

Shelf-stable mayo contains additives

Store-bought mayo is a shelf-stable food because it can be safely stored at room temperature, or "on the shelf" while sealed in an aseptic container. After it's opened it must be refrigerated, much like other shelf-stable foods, such as canned beans and tinned fish, to prevent it from spoiling. While unopened, the additives in store-bought mayo, such as antioxidants, stop it becoming rancid. 

In contrast, homemade mayo prepared with fresh eggs and oil has to be refrigerated as soon as it's ready because it hasn't undergone commercial processing. The raw eggs in the mixture are safe to eat as long as they've been pasteurized, but it's still necessary to chill the end product to slow down the growth of bacteria and help it to maintain its fresh flavor. The texture of store-bought mayo is thicker and claggier than homemade varieties. It has a viscous, almost jelly-like consistency, whereas classic homemade mayo has a creamier lightness and brighter taste, which is perhaps another reason why Rachael Ray prefers a homespun batch. 

Making mayo from scratch is the perfect solution for those who don't like processed store-bought mayo. A simple emulsification of egg yolks and an acid beaten together with a continuous stream of oil, this yummy condiment can be elevated with a dash of mustard, fresh herbs, and a spoonful of vinegar. Adding garlic transforms it into aioli while blending in some chipotle peppers turns it into a Southwest dressing.