Tuesday, September 23, 2014


"Old Man Emu can run the pants off a kangaroo!"

Peregian Beach

Play time on Peregian Beach

Peregian Square Circa 2014

On second thoughts – please don’t.

My comments herein are mine, and mine alone. They’re just my opinion. We all have our own opinions about things. My intention is not to sway anyone to my way of thinking about mayonnaise. The decisions we make are our own.

I’m not and never have I been a lover of mayonnaise. The pundits claim commercial brands of mayo don’t cause food poisoning because the commercially-made products contain an abundance of acidity, such as vinegar and other ingredients (as well as a stack of preservatives, the names of which make little sense to the lay person). Yet instructions on the label still advise us to “Refrigerate After Opening”.  Oh! Yes! Of course! That’s to preserve the flavour; not because of the chance of causing food poisoning.

It’s most important to be aware at all times that homemade mayonnaise is made by using raw eggs. Highly perishable homemade mayo should be consumed immediately after preparation. What is left-over must be refrigerated, and then the rest finished off as soon as possible…otherwise, if that’s not possible…toss it!

And don’t let salads with mayo as an ingredient sit out in the sun or at room temperate until next year!  Two hours is the maximum, if at room temperature.  It’s not a very smart or good idea to allow any food to sit for long under the sun; if at all!

Through the years I’d done a lot of cooking for one reason or another; and at various periods, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I worked tables in a few Brisbane restaurants on a “second-job-casual-part-time basis”. There were times I assisted in the kitchens when the need arose.  I loved watching what the chefs were doing – watching and learning as I followed their instructions.  

When I worked for 14 years within the fashion industry as well as assisting in the organisation of in-house promotion evenings launching new lines to the retailers; choreographing the how the products would be present, I also hands-on handled the catering.  My reason for doing so was I loved to cook.  I loved to cook for a crowd.   (Perhaps I should have been locked up then and there)!

All of this I’ve written about previously, I know...please bear with me...as it leads into the rest of this tale....

However the first restaurant in which I was actually the sole cook/chef - in charge of my own kitchen - was a restaurant in Peregian Beach, circa 1983. 

 “The Ebony Emu” was its name. It was situated on the David Low Way that runs south from the junction of Noosa/Sunshine Beach at the northern end and links to the Sunshine Motorway, west of Mudjimba about 35kms away.  Peregian Beach is approximately halfway between the two points.

The Ebony Emu was part of the Peregian Beach Motel.  It serviced the motel guests as well as the general public.

A piece of trivia worth noting - Peregian is a local Aboriginal word for emu.

One special afternoon, the first Tuesday in November - after celebrating the iconic race that “stops a nation”, the Melbourne Cup - my ex, Randall and I along with a couple of friend somehow ended up at the bar in the restaurant at the Peregian Beach Motel.

Full of bravado and cheek (and liquid refreshments), I mentioned during an animated chat with the owner that I loved to cook, and, even though I was self-taught, I had a pretty good grasp on what commercial cooking was all about, having worked in a few restaurants, one way of the other, in the past; and if she was ever looking for a cook/chef, I was ready, willing, and somewhat able. 

It’s marvelous how confident one is of one’s abilities when fueled with champagne and Scotch!  A magical potion!        

Out of the blue a couple of weeks later (I'd filed away in the rear, dark recesses of my mind the fearless speech I'd made on Melbourne Cup Day) at around 2.30-3 pm the phone rang.  I answered the call and heard an anxious, somewhat pleading voice on the other end asking if I would start work immediately at the Ebony Emu Restaurant - in the kitchen!  Apparently, their chef had gotten his nappy in a knot over something or other, and had thrown off his apron, grabbed his tools of trade and walked - straight out the door - without notice, leaving them in the lurch.  The restaurant was well-booked for that evening and time was of the essence.  Hit the panic button!          

What did I have to lose?  I jumped into action immediately and said I’d be there within a blink of an eye.  Grabbing my set of knives…I always like good quality kitchen knives and had a collection of German steel knives of varying sizes for various purposes…I raced downstairs and outside.  Randall was cleaning the pool.

“Where are you off to, honey?” He asked somewhat quizzically.  We’d made no plans to go out; I’d made no plans to go out.  I quickly filled him in what was happening; raced off to my car and left him with his mouth agape!

As soon as I entered the restaurant kitchen I did a rapid reconnaissance of the lay-out, stock and the whole situation at hand.  I couldn’t believe what I found.  There was food in the fridges that had longer growths on them than Santa Claus!  Without favour or fear, I started tossing stuff away, left, right and centre.  I’d wing it; play it by ear and by my way.

The restaurant seated about 30 diners, max.

I soon discovered it had the strangest owners; and even more strange, the kitchen didn’t have a cold room. Four domestic fridge/freezers did the job; or didn’t do the job! 20-litre buckets of mayonnaise, seals broken (with “Refrigerate After Opening” clearly written on the labels) sat on the kitchen floor where they were permanently stored. No matter how many times I pointed out the problem to my boss, the restaurant’s owner, my pleas were ignored. Needless to say, I came up with my own solution.  

I kept my mouth shut, but I swiftly deleted all items from the menu that required mayonnaise; in the few dishes that couldn’t be deleted, I replaced the mayo with sour cream or natural yoghurt, using smaller containers. If the contents weren’t used immediately, what remained was covered and stored in one of the fridges, to be used up as soon as possible; and so on. The clock was ticking (it was a time before digital clocks). 

From when I set foot into the kitchen for that first afternoon I had approximately three hours for preparation until the restaurant doors opened to hungry diners!

It wasn’t only the mayo that the owners were weird about; but more about that in Chapter Two.  

Simple Soy Mayonnaise:  Place 1c natural, unflavoured Soy milk into deep jug; blend with stick blender for a few minutes; using 1/4c olive oil, add oil a little at a time while blending.  Add 1/4c lemon juice, salt or honey to taste, 1/2tsp crushed black pepper, 1/2tsp crushed mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon of any herb as desired. Add any herb of your choice; dill, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, or even Basil will go well. A sprinkling of garlic flakes can be incorporated, if you wish, to add extra flavour and taste. Put into glass jar; refrigerate.

Eggless Mayo: Mix together slowly with a whisk, the following ingredients:  200g condensed milk, 4tbs salad oil, 4tbs white vinegar or lemon juice, 1/2tsp salt, 1tsp mustard powder and 1/2tspn white pepper.

Eggless Tofu Mayonnaise: Combine 240g tofu, 1/4c canola oil, 1tbs lemon juice, 1tbs sugar, 1-1/2tsp prepared mustard, 1tsp apple cider vinegar and 1/2tsp salt; blend until mixture is smooth.


  1. As I read this ~ I am wondering how long you lasted at this place? Ooh chapter 2 ~
    Not a mayo fan myself ~ but I will file the eggless recipes away. Cheers!

  2. Homemade mayo can be a delight. A short-lived delight. For many years as a very young thing I had my mother's mayo on toast for breakfast anytime she made it.
    And the whiskers/growth on the food and the lack of sanitation are more than a little scary. Looking forward to the next installment. I think.

  3. Hi Carol...email me...I can't get into your blog.

    I've never been a fan of mayo...I can't even remember the last time I had it; and it wouldn't have been of my own choosing when I did have it.

    I hope you enjoy your holiday...relax and take it easy. Thanks for coming in. :)

  4. Hey there EC...even as a kid, I didn't like it. I must have been a weird kid, because I didn't like ice cream then, either! ;)

    Interesting time ahead...your patience shall be rewarded! Thanks for coming by. :)

  5. I love mayo - but I buy small jars and it's used up pretty quickly. I have to say - it's the absolute best thing to put on the bread when you make cheese on toast.

    I've never managed to make my own though. I'm too impatient, and I add the oil too quickly, I think.

  6. Hey AJ...I've just never liked the taste of it. And, in truth, I prefer coleslaw and potato salad simply with vinaigrette.

    In a commercial kitchen it's not viable or economical to buy in small portions, hence the 20lt buckets. The buckets were good, though...the best part of the mayonnaise...great for storage etc. lol

    Thanks for coming by...nice to see you. :)

  7. I love mayo, but don't eat it that often (always fighting the battle of the bulge.) We are partial to Duke's Mayo, here in the southern US. It doesn't have sugar in it like other commercial brands. I've always wanted to make it - I think you've inspired that.

    Lovely of you to jump in like that and under such circumstances! You've done so many things!

  8. My mother tried to fake us out for years with Miracle Whip and then after leaving home I learned the wonder of real mayonnaise. Perhaps that discovery is part of the reason I went from 125 lbs to 200 lbs. You failed to mention the excessive calories in mayonnaise.

  9. Aussies are clearly the strangest people!
    What a place to work.
    The second pic of the beach is superb however and I wanna be there!

  10. That place sounds a little terrifying. Hard to believe they were booked solid. Can't wait to read more!

  11. You talk about your concerns over food poising and yet you give us recipes with soy milk and tofu? What about the yuk factor? (LOL?)

  12. Hi Lynn...I lived life on the edge...on the edge of a kitchen! The lure was too strong to resist! :)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  13. Hi GA...I didn't even think about the calories in mayo...probably because I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat it so much of it to do such damage to their waists! lol

    To my thinking, a little goes a long way, if one insists on eating it. Thanks for coming in. :)

  14. You will appreciate this story, Dexter! lol

    Nice to see you. :)

  15. Hey, Jerry! Try it, you might like it! Stranger things have happened! lol

    Thanks for popping in. :)

  16. Hey Mr. Ad-Man...yes, we're a weird mob. You're not the first person to have said that! :)

    I can see you frolicking on that beach.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  17. You'll be there in the blink of an eye? That's pretty Speedy miss Gonzales!
    I actually knew all that about Mayonnaise, but I'll challenge you on one point. Left over home made mayonnaise should not be stored for any length of time, chuck it out.
    I don't like most commercially made mayonnaises, but I do like the "Thomy" brand. Made in Germany with a hint of mustard, it is nicer than the gelatine set glue in other jars.
    Looking forward to chapter two!

  18. Hi River...I accept your challenge...I wrote, if you note - "What is left-over must be refrigerated, and then the rest finished off as soon as possible…otherwise, if that’s not possible…toss it!" :)

    I have tried the "Thorny" brand...via German friends who served it sometimes when I lunched with them...but, again, I've not bought it for my own personal use.

    Thanks for dropping in...and cuddles to Angel. :)

  19. I love mayo. Living dangerously ! !

  20. Hi Helsie...it amazes me just how many people do love mayo. I must be the odd one out...but there's nothing odd about that! lol

    Thanks for popping in. :)

  21. Duke's Mayonnaise...it's the best!
    I am sure your homemade mayo is wonderful too, but doggone it, you can't ship it to me in Georgia! :-)

  22. Kay, I don't make or buy mayonnaise...as I said, I don't like the stuff. I never have.

    Thanks for swinging by. I've just made a tossed mixed salad...no mayo, but with vinaigrette dressing! There's enough for a few people...as usual!! :)

  23. Great reminder, people get busy and forget that you can make yourself very sick.

  24. I did mean not even in the fridge; raw eggs, left out for use, I wouldn't risk it. It's possible I'm a little too careful.
    I don't use much mayo myself, I buy the smallest jar possible and often enough it gets thrown out when I discover it is months past its use by date.

  25. Hi Arlynda...I'm not sure what you mean, but thanks for popping in. :)

  26. Hello again, River. You're right...eggs should be kept in the fridge at all times...never out on the bench or wherever else. You're not being too careful...you're being very sensible. :)

  27. Soy mayo! I love you, Lee!

  28. Arlynda was referring to how easy it is to leave highly-perishable food items out too long as we scurry about. Her mother is especially forgetful when it comes to this these days.

  29. Aha! Now I understand, Jerry. Thanks. :)

  30. Hey, RK....when I had my greengrocery/health food store in Noosa Heads back in the mid-Eighties I used soy mayonnaise a lot in the salads I made for sale in the shop. I sold it in my shop, as well.

    Thanks for popping in. It's nice to be loved...if only for a day! lol

  31. I shall never look at a jar of mayonnaise in the same way again. Jeez you were like a human hurricane when you were younger Lee! So much energy and into everything - living life in fifth gear or so it seems to me from this distance. Looking forward to the next instalment when those thirty unwitting diners are no doubt transported to hospital in a fleet of ambulances!

  32. What an intrepid soul you are! I'm dying (not from bad mayonnaise left in the sun) to know how the evening went and what you fed those trusting diners! Growths longer than Santa's beard? The heart wobbles....

    I can't help being amazed that they hadn't been shut down long before your arrival .... did the diners thrive on Santa's Beard?

    The bravado of youth....I once walked into a quilt shop in an area we had just moved to.They were looking for people to teach classes. I had taught school before and was an avid quilter but when I came out of the shop I was appalled at my daring --- I had volunteered my services to teach a beginning quilt class --- Aghh!

    Fortunately everything worked out fine and I taught several more classes at that store!

    Looking forward with bated breath to your next installment....

  33. Never fear, Yorky. I never poisoned anyone, not one person when I cooked professionally (nor have I done so, domestically).

    I was/am always very, very careful regarding food storage, handling and preparation.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  34. Oh,yes, Molly...the bravado of our younger years when we were eager to face the challenges...and did! It's different these days...for me, anyway.

    The "growth longer than Santa's beard" was a slight exaggeration, but it does give the reader an idea of what I faced that first afternoon when I explored the contents of the fridges.

    Thanks for popping in. :)

  35. to mayo or not to mayo that is the question!

    Nice post.

    And I recognise the song from the first picture.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  36. Aha! You're the first one to have picked up on that, Stewart...the reference to the song, that is. ;)

    Thanks for calling by. :)