During this time of quarantine, we are bringing you simple bake-along recipes from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery that can be cooked on a woodstove, like we do here at the center, or on your home oven. In these videos, we’ll give you tips and tricks for using up what’s in your pantry and how to get creative! This week we’re using a simple recipe to make homemade mayonnaise. While most of us think of mayonnaise as a condiment, it is incredibly versatile! Fresh mayo is an excellent dressing for potato salad or green salads when mixed with herbs and Greek yogurt. It is also a great base for a dip. When brushed on bread that is grilled or toasted, it makes for a crispy, tangy exterior. During WWII, mayonnaise became an important ingredient for baking when oil and eggs were rationed. Next week, we’ll be showing you how to make a mayonnaise chocolate cake that is rich and incredibly moist! You can substitute mayo for oil or eggs in many (but not all!) baking recipes. To sub for eggs, simply use 3 tablespoons of mayo per egg called for. Today, we’ll just be using our mayo to make a pantry-friendly (and easier!) version of eggs Benedict.


Mayonnaise (from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery):

1 egg yolk

2 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice, or 1 Tbs of each

1/4 tsp mustard (can use dry mustard)

3/4 tsp salt, or to taste

1/8 tsp pepper

3/4 c salad oil (we recommend a high quality olive oil or corn oil)

Beat egg yolk and add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar or lemon juice. Add mustard, salt, and pepper. Beat well. Drop oil, a teaspoon at a time, into the egg mixture, beating constantly, until 1/4 cup has been added. Then add in larger quantities, beating thoroughly after each addition. As mixture thickens, add remaining vinegar or lemon juice a little at a time. Have all ingredients equally cold when mixing. Store in a cool place in clean jars. Yield: 1 cup.


Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup water, room temperature

1 cup mayonnaise, full-fat

1/2 cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly (make sure cocoa is well incorporated). Grease baking dish of choice (9×13, 10″ round, cupcake pan). Bake in preheated oven, approximately 30 minutes for cake pans, or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes. Rotate halfway through. Cake is done when inserted toothpick comes out clean (with just a few crumbs)! Frost or enjoy plain.


Vinegar Frosting (from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery):

Exie Dills

“Take [one] cup of good apple vinegar, and you put two cups of sugar in that and boil it until it makes a syrup. It’ll be as hard as it can be if you boil it too long. When it makes a thick syrup, you take it off the heat, and you put it in a little lump of butter about that big [measuring about a tablespoon with her thumb] and melt it. It’ll turn kind of white looking. You let the syrup cool ’til it’s not runny, and you put that between [your cake layers] and then over the top.”


Poor Man’s Eggs Benedict

1 English muffin, toasted, or biscuit, warmed

2 eggs, poached

1 cup greens, fried

2 slices bacon, cooked

2 slices cheese, optional

Pickled red onions or chowchow

2 Tbs fresh mayonnaise


Gather ingredients and build sandwich: split toasted muffin or warmed biscuit, top with fried greens and one slice of bacon per side (can also use fried ham). Add poached eggs next, one per side. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of homemade mayonnaise over each egg. Top with slices of pickled red onions or chowchow. Add any additional desired condiments or spices, such as hot sauce or paprika.


Looking for a heartier meal? Try out this Appalachian recipe for potato salad:

Potato Salad

Mary Pitts

Peel about a gallon of potatoes and cube them before cooking. Boil in water until fork-tender. Drain and lay on tray to cool. While potatoes are cooling, chop up 1 onion and several cucumber pickles of your choice, and 6-8 boiled eggs. Once potatoes are cool, mix chopped ingredients with potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste then add 1-2 cups of mayonnaise. Mix well and chill until ready to eat.

~Kami Ahrens, Assistant Curator