The problem with any writer who happens to experience that rare, fleeting phenomenon known as “external validation” is that for a few moments, we go a little mad.
Which is to say: we start believing our own hype. And for a writer, truly, what greater madness is there than believing in yourself? Don’t get me wrong: I’m still a neurotic bundle of frayed nerves, unsure of my own role in the grand scheme of things, powered mostly by nutritionally-devoid snacks that have come to replace meals. I am basically a frittering raccoon poorly masquerading in an ill-fitting skin-suit.
But for a few ephemeral moments now and then I think that maybe I can do anything. It doesn’t last long, it’s wholly born of madness, it’s dependent upon the opinions of others (which is a whole other thing), and yet: it’s there.
It may very well be part of the human condition, these brief moments of self-permitted greatness. If we’re lucky enough, and privileged enough, we may even capitalize on those moments and share our work with others. My James Beard Award (yes, I am still talking about it, shut up) is a symptom, but not the cause. For a second, I was delusional enough to think that my work deserved something. You all were a big part of me thinking that.
In those narrow windows of time where we are invincible, we can do amazing things. I’ve baked layer cakes and used a pressure washer to clean my deck and started writing countless books (I even finished one.)
And one time, I made Cadbury Creme Egg mayonnaise. This was, to be fair, a … less amazing achievement than the other things. But it happened during one of those brief moments when I was invincible, and so that seems miraculous enough in and of itself.
It was Chuck Wendig who put the damn concoction into my head several months ago, when he tweeted about it. I happened to be flying through London at the time, and I spent my layover in Heathrow walking from shop to shop in search of the creme egg mayo, to the horror of several Duty Free workers.
I couldn’t find it anywhere, and felt that strange mix of both relief and disappointment that follows when a delightfully bad idea never comes to fruition. But then I won a damn James Beard Award. And that shit does not happen to frittering raccoons without them having to pay a karmic debt to the universe. I figured I had to make homemade Cadbury Creme Egg Mayo as some sort of penance to Julia Child and the gods of cooking.
Did I even have mayo in the house? No, of course not. Mayo is the chosen condiment of demons and the GOP. At this point, I should have given up, but I was temporarily capable of great things so I had to make candy mayonnaise I heard about on the internet. Obviously.
I decided to make mayo from scratch.
If you are drunk on your own elevated feelings of self-worth and feel like you need to make a novelty condiment in order to pay a karmic debt to the gods of food writing, well … here is what you will need to make Cadbury Creme Egg mayonnaise at home:
- one Cadbury cream egg
- one chicken egg
- a total disregard for the culinary achievements of the last 500 years
- canola oil
- the intoxicating thought that maybe, just maybe, you are fucking amazing
- a pinch of salt
You will also need an electric mixer.
This was about to become increasingly difficult because – and I am still unclear on how this happened – someone recently, and presumably accidentally, destroyed my electric mixer by dunking it in water after a dinner party. I figured that someone either dropped it into a sinkful of water without telling me (which feels off-brand for my friends) or someone dunked my electric mixer in water in an effort to clean it because they were drunk (which feels super on-brand for my friends).
So I was left with the task of making mayonnaise – an effort which absolutely requires an electric mixer – without one.
I started by beating an egg with my immersion blender, but that didn’t really work because the whole thing was too shallow, so I switched to my food processor. I added some oil, and that did a wonderful job of making whatever the hell this is:
Awful? Yes. Possibly becoming sentient and plotting to murder me? Yes. But not technically mayonnaise.
I poured it all out into a bowl and beat the damn thing by hand, which is something that my electric mixer could have done had someone not dunked the damn thing in water. (Okay, but seriously, the thing had an electric cord, why would you wash that? I swear to god some of my friends are either aliens or time travelers and our 21st century human ways are just confusing to them.)
At some point, it held together in a gloopy, pus-like blob that feeds on the nightmares of children.
I HAD MADE MAYONNAISE.
I scooped out the insides of a Cadbury creme egg and mixed them into the mayo. (Note: it should look like the by-product of a pulmonary infection.)
Then I chopped up the chocolate shell and threw that in along with some salt. The addition of the sugar and chocolate meant that mayo started to break down a little bit and lose consistency. But I was undeterred. There was no reality in which this wasn’t going to work. Because I could – for a little while at least, do anything. And I’d decided that I was going to do this.
The result was … runny mayonnaise with chocolate pieces in it and the occasional chunk of fondant.
I had to try it, right? I mean, I couldn’t go through all the trouble and then not taste it, right? Did I mention it was first thing in the morning? And that this was technically breakfast? A meal which does not – at least in my house – regularly include mayonnaise or Cadbury creme eggs but does apparently include terrible judgement?
I made a GIF of my reaction since there are moments for which words fail us.
If you are wondering what it tasted like … it was like someone mixed a Cadbury creme egg into a bunch of mayonnaise. And honestly it was both repellent but … weirdly compelling?
Like when you taste something terrible and your first impulse is to share it with someone else? It was that. This entire product’s tagline could have been, “Ew, gross, try this.” Of course, there’s only one other person who screwed up badly enough in a past life that they now have to live with me in this one.
As soon as Rand came downstairs I shoved the bowl in his face because I didn’t want to be the only one to experience this culinary atrocity. I would later tell friends about this experience and I wanted someone to corroborate my story.
Here’s a video of his reaction, in which I asked him how he felt about this whole thing:
Yes, the results were terrible. But they were exactly what I’d set out to make, in that brief window of time when anything was possible. Perhaps I’d squandered my invincibility this time. Perhaps my temporary superpowers went to waste. But I figured I owed the universe something, to say thank you for thinking that maybe this frittering raccoon was good enough.
And honestly? The stuff wasn’t all that bad.
P.S. – I’m not one to waste food. So here’s a tip: if you do decide to make this, note how much oil you are using. A lot of cakes require eggs and oil, and creating an emulsion with them beforehand doesn’t adversely impact a cake recipe.
I made this chocolate cake with the Cadbury creme egg mayo (I just subtracted 3 tablespoons of sugar from the recipe, which is roughly how much sugar is in one Cadbury egg. I don’t even know how that’s physically possible, but it’s true).
Consequently, Rand forgave me for making him a human guinea pig.