The Classic Brand Of Mayo Julia Child Swore By

Often credited for introducing Americans to French cuisine, Julia Child was perhaps most known for writing "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and hosting the cooking show "The French Chef." In addition to sharing recipes for dishes like beef bourguignon, her shows and cookbooks taught countless people how to make staples like vinaigrette, hollandaise, and bechamel. Though you'd think mayonnaise would fall into that category, the French condiment wasn't actually one of the foods Child encouraged people to always make from scratch, according to WBUR.

Despite the fact that "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" includes a mayonnaise recipe that she once featured on an early episode of her cooking show, Child rarely used it herself. Instead, she opted for the store-bought version and would recommend the Hellmann's brand to viewers. One of her favorite ways to enjoy Hellmann's mayonnaise was on a tuna sandwich, her friend and famed cookbook author Dorie Greenspan told The New York Times.

Why did Julia Child like Hellmann's mayonnaise so much?

In this day and age, if a celebrity chef were to champion a brand like Julia Child did with Hellmann's mayonnaise, you'd probably assume there was some sort of paid partnership. In reality, Child just really liked Hellmann's mayonnaise, and the reason could have easily been due to the food trends she grew up around.

Child may have received formal training at a French cooking school, but she was from California, which means she likely didn't grow up on traditional French mayonnaise. But in the 1920s, when Child would've been in grade school, jarred mayonnaise skyrocketed in popularity in the United States, according to Southern Living. At the center of it all was Hellmann's, which launched huge advertising campaigns to market its product to the masses. It's possible therefore that Child was influenced by the trend at the time, especially since Hellmann's selling point was that it was "real mayonnaise," and Child herself was also known for being very big on using "real" ingredients. And, really, can anything beat nostalgia?

Child's mayonnaise recipe wasn't like Hellmann's

You'd think that Julia Child's homemade mayonnaise recipe would be inspired by her favorite brand, but the truth is it had a much different flavor profile, and there's a good explanation for it. "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" was a French cookbook, and Hellmann's is American-style mayonnaise. While eggs, lemon juice, and oil are included in both recipes, Child's mayonnaise, which closely resembles traditional French mayonnaise, is flavored with mustard. It also calls for just the egg yolks, giving the mayonnaise a fattier mouthfeel and eggier taste.

But it isn't just the ingredients that differ, it's also their function. Whereas American mayonnaise is considered a condiment or spread, French mayonnaise is more like a secondary ingredient used to enhance a sauce. Clearly, this differentiation was something Child took seriously, as evidenced by an episode of "The French Chef" where she showed viewers how to make Niçoise salad, and chose to use French mayonnaise rather than her beloved Hellmann's. When she was using mayo as a condiment rather than an ingredient, though, Child skipped making her own French-esque version; when making tuna sandwiches, it makes sense that she would reach for Hellmann's instead.