a mess of mussels

funny how many consider mere mayonnaise a difficult sauce to make. julia has it that it’s so simple that “no culinary skill whatsoever enters into its preparation.” following a few very simple steps it is easy to make and of course endlessly more delicious than those store-bought concoctions. it also contains only those ingredients you wish to use.
i like making mayo and often do, with two forks, or a whisk, or now, in the cuisine art i got for my birthday. of course two forks work better than one. in a warmish bowl fork together an egg yolk, a teaspoon of mustard, a large spoon of vinegar and salt as you like it. for ever forking, gradually drip in a cup of olive oil, initially drop by drop, adding the rest in a thin steady stream. two forks work almost as well as a whisk. you might beat a little longer, but you won’t have the need for a whisk. a cuisine art takes a lot longer to clean, but works exceptionally well, especially if you like tarragon. add all the above ingredients plus a good hand full of tarragon leaves. fill the feed tube with oil, turn the thing on and let it whirl adding more of the rest of the oil. stop, taste and enjoy the consistency, it should feel firm and look peaky. it will make you cosset the night.
you might take to other oils, or mix walnut and olive, hazelnut and grape, or use plain safflower. i once tried peanut oil, but won’t do so again anytime soon.
tarragon aside, i often squoosh roast garlic (aioli) and sometimes a sprinkle of saffron (rouille) to flavor the stuff, for mussels, or a roast chicken, or, yes! on a charcoal grilled hamburger. you might play with lemon verbena and root wasabi to do justice to salmon. it is better than butter on mid-morning anchovy toast. it is truly a very versatile sauce, thick and silky on any ham sandwich, languidly liquid as dressing for salads, thinned with nocino (hello sumner!) or darkened with shoyu on steamed cauliflower.
butter, spelled with a capital b, the very idea is simply no longer tenable. in now leaner times we live a different life. though butter won’t disappear from my dailies, i cook more often with ghee, or oils, olive and grape seed mostly, some walnut. complex and traditional french applications like the infamous boneless duck just don’t make it no more in my kitchen. such like recipes take way too much time and silly efforts, time which i like to spend on inventing new foods, new as they are at least to me. exploring the variants and specifics of the north-west, and spices and and ways of the culture i now live in.

reading julie and julia. wondering why she didn’t take to a shrink. though i have to admit, cooking, especially such of the french style, is fabulous medicine for the distracted, doing food is to be resistant to disruption and become, if in her case only somewhat, adaptive in the face of crisis situations. the woman did pretty well on julia’s coattails, and julia, well, the julia (meryl streep) of the movies was splendid, and (Stanley Tucci )her husband, oh, if only i was a girl, i’d get me a guy like that.

so for tonight i think i’ll do a mess of mussels for dinner, gooey potatoes on a bed of red leaf, sauced with the above - but dam, which of the many ones? oh well, it will come to me, likely just before serving, in a whirl and a whisk.