Monday, April 11, 2011

The Vegan Hypocrite: Scrambled eggs with vegan mayo

I'm not a vegan, only a vegetarian, but I love vegan mayonnaise.

I grew up in a Miracle Whip household. For some strange reason, my mother felt that Miracle Whip was healthier than regular Hellmann's, despite the fact that Miracle Whip is loaded with far nastier stuff than even the most processed commercial mayo.  I think my mother liked the subtle hint of spiciness in the Whip, although when it came to food with a 'bite,' Miracle Whip was as intense as my Mexican, Chinese and Indian-food despising mother would tolerate.

Vegan mayo has a kind of a pleasant tangy quality that regular mayo lacks, at least to my palate. Yet I have to confess, although I eat very little dairy, I don't feel quite motivated enough to give up eggs. There are certain things I like to bake that don't come out quite as well egg-free (cookies and brownies). I'll go for long periods eating hardcore vegan (scrambled tofu and vegan mayo is another favorite brekkie). But every now and then I feel a need to have scrambled eggs slathered with vegan mayo.

So I suppose vegan mayo on eggs is as close to 'the hypocrite' as my vegetarian self will venture.

The Omnivore's Hypocrite, of course, is the sandwich test-tasted by the staff of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (my favorite radio program)--bacon on a veggie burger.
Photo credit: NPR

My mother would laugh if she saw me eating eggs--for many years she was always trying to convince me that I loved eggs. I have a vague memory of eating soft scrambled eggs with pepper as a baby, scooped from a dish that had pictures of nursery rhyme characters on the bottom, to encourage me to eat. But as soon as I had any control over my food intake, I went on an egg strike. I would eat buttered toast and Sizzlelean or bacon. I'd order pancakes and sausage or a sausage biscuit from McDonald's.  But I turned my nose up at the Egg McMuffin.

"You loved eggs once," my mother would wail.
"I had no choice," I would whine. "I didn't know any better."
"Eggs are the perfect food," said my mother.  "They're high in protein!"  Protein, the Holy Grail Nutrient of the 1970s! How could I refuse?

The Greek side of family, of course, takes a different view. "Eggs will kill you," said my father, thinking of all of the American Heart propaganda he read in 1962. Given that the traditional Greek breakfast is coffee and the four-course dinner still digesting in the belly from the night before, my father feels virtuous in his abstention from eggs. A single egg could stop your heart cold!  My father has often warned me of the dire consequences of eggs and butter while eating a brick of cheese or a loaf of bread dunked in a cup of olive oil, so I take his dietary advice with a grain of well, salt.  Which I also eat.  Sprinkled in moderation on real food. Not in super-saturated foods from cans and boxes that have several times the suggested daily allotment of sodium, but don't taste salty.  (Progresso Soup, anyone?)

 I must confess I only began to love eggs after my mother passed away, so perhaps there was some subconscious adolescent rebellion to my previous aversion.

The recipe? I could make my own vegan mayo, but Nayonaise lasts longer than the homemade variety. Thus, I usually buy the commercial version, which is reasonably free of unpronounceable ingredients and contains no artificial sweeteners. And is only 35 calories for a heaping tablespoon.

I would include a recipe, dear reader, but frankly when it comes to eggs I do everything wrong. I add no milk. I allow the pan to get hot, crack the eggs, scramble them on the skillet, and as soon as they start to turn into curdles, I turn off the flame and cook the eggs on the retained heat. I don't add salt, I use black pepper. I eat them with mayo rather than ketchup. I like them that way--and dipped in a heaping tablespoon of mayo.  The one thing I do do 'somewhat' right is that I eat eggs from free-range, cage-free chickens (although that term is somewhat problematic). I'm afraid that eggs will continue to be a source of personal turmoil, as I never seem to feel good whether I am eating them or not eating them--I am always displeasing someone.  What came first, the guilt or my taste for eggs?  I shall never know.


  1. Thanks for the shoutout! I am dying for homemade mayo right now, preferably with Sriracha mixed in and drizzled over avocado rolls- "stoner food" even a non-toker can love...

  2. I keep having the urge to have an avocado with vegan mayo slathered upon can't beat the 'fat on fat' combination.