Julia Child's Favorite Brand Of Mayo Is A Classic

In an early episode of her groundbreaking television show "The French Chef," Julia Child stated that "mayonnaise is something that seems to frighten a lot of people [...] because they don't understand how egg yolks work." She then proceeded to explain it all in her trademark fashion, demystifying the process and providing a simple, step-by-step explanation of how to make a homemade version of the condiment. Not only is it instructional, but the clip also points to what made Child such a wonderful cooking personality; she makes professional cooking techniques accessible to the amateur home chef. 

But, even Child herself understood that time is often scarce and whipping up a batch of mayo isn't always feasible. To that end, she had one brand that she always turned to time and again: Hellman's. The choice makes sense: Child was a chef for the people, and the people overwhelmingly agree with her. Hellman's Real Mayonnaise is the number one mayo brand in the world, outranking Heinz, Kraft, international brand Kewpie, and the go-to brand of the South, Duke's

Child used Hellman's in place of her own mayo recipe

When it comes to Julia Child's preferred tuna salad recipe, even that includes her go-to choice of mayo. The dish was categorized by the famous chef as a "working lunch," meaning an easily-assembled sandwich that can be taken on-the-go or enjoyed while doing other, more intensive cooking preparation in the kitchen. Child was very particular about the construction of the sandwich, opting for canned tuna in oil, Hellman's mayonnaise, Vidalia onions, white pepper, and either Bays English muffins or Pepperidge Farm white bread. 

The recipe is rounded out with salt, lemon juice, capers, chives, chopped celery, and cornichons, a pickle similar to a gherkin. Finished with lettuce and tomato, the end result is quite good. The crunch from the celery, onions, and chives, the saltiness of the pickles and capers, and the slightly sweet tang from the Hellman's and lemon juice combine to form a satisfying lunch which, best of all, is easy to make. The Hellman's can be replaced with Child's own mayo concoction — included in a poll of her top 100 recipes — but it's better to honor the spirit of the tuna salad and have it like the master does.

Mayonnaise is a frequent ingredient in many of Child's recipes

For the home chef who wants to channel Julia Child but is still frightened by the thought of homemade mayonnaise, it's comforting to know that there's a store-bought brand that has her seal of approval. It's also good because Child was a big fan of mayonnaise and it often appeared in her recipes. She even dedicated an entire episode to mayo in Season 6 of her show The French Chef. In it, she drizzles the condiment over cold fish and shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, cooked artichokes, chicken, and even fills an entire hollowed out tomato with the sauce. In a pinch, Hellman's works as a replacement.

During a 1980 appearance on an ABC news segment, Child made a garlic mayo with chopped parsley, which she suggests as an accoutrement to boiled fish, chicken, and potatoes. She also said, shockingly, that it makes a good spaghetti sauce, pouring it into a bowl of cooked noodles along with chopped green pepper, tomato, walnuts, and shredded Parmesan. While dolloping some Hellman's into a pasta salad makes sense, the inclusion in a hot spaghetti dish seems unusual and may even horrify some Italian chefs. But, based on Child's pedigree, it may be worth trying at least once.