'Margaret's mayo': Dot Reichle shares her mama's homemade mayo, in time for a Fourth feast

 

Dot Reichle displays a summertime spread at her Columbus home Monday - all made with homemade mayonnaise. Reichle recently rediscovered her mother's recipe. In addition to a bowl of homemade mayo, and basil mayo, the table holds pasta salad with Parmesan mayonnaise, Dot's chicken salad, tomato and mayo on scratch biscuits, plus deviled eggs.

Dot Reichle displays a summertime spread at her Columbus home Monday - all made with homemade mayonnaise. Reichle recently rediscovered her mother's recipe. In addition to a bowl of homemade mayo, and basil mayo, the table holds pasta salad with Parmesan mayonnaise, Dot's chicken salad, tomato and mayo on scratch biscuits, plus deviled eggs. Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff

 

Dot Reichle holds a decorative pillow imprinted with a photographic image taken by The Dispatch for a food section story in 1977. It shows Reichle with her sons, from left, Chris, John and Hank.

Dot Reichle holds a decorative pillow imprinted with a photographic image taken by The Dispatch for a food section story in 1977. It shows Reichle with her sons, from left, Chris, John and Hank.
Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

Dot Reichle is a woman of many talents, perhaps none so well-known as her tasty touch with food. With family Fourth of July spreads just ahead, she shares one of the secrets to her success -- her mama's homemade mayonnaise recipe. It was one of Margaret Evans' culinary signatures, often given to friends as gifts.

 

"Mama used black pepper, which you could see, so everybody always knew it was Margaret's homemade mayo," laughed Dot, relaxed in her charming house on a hill in a quiet north Columbus neighborhood.

 

The recipe her mother used had been lost to Dot for many years, until she unexpectedly unearthed it recently while looking through old pictures and clippings. There it was, in a Cook of the Week story about Reichle that ran in The Commercial Dispatch in December 1977. She was delighted to make the find.

 

 

Dot remembers that the family's era of homemade mayo began after her mother, in Greenville, got a new blender; Dot was in about eighth grade.

 

"After she started making it, we never bought another jar of mayonnaise," recalled Reichle. "It was our staple."

 

Evans liked to cook a rump roast for Sundays, so there was almost always a little leftover roast in the fridge for another family favorite -- sandwiches made with roast, her grandmother's homemade plum jelly and Mama's mayo -- always on white bread.

 

"She could make the best sandwiches of anybody I know," Dot reminisced. "They all started with that mayonnaise."

 

 

Following a passion

 

Reichle comes from a long line of good cooks, her mother included. So it shouldn't have been a surprise that she always hoped to "do something with food" one day. Over time, she was a legal secretary, a school secretary, a stay-at-home mom to three boys, and she worked in purchasing at United Technologies for many years.

 

"At UT, we would often eat lunch at the Kountry Kitchen," she recounted, referring to a busy homestyle eatery in east Columbus, near the former UT plant. When the restaurant came on the market, Dot and her spouse talked over what would be a leap of faith and plenty of hard work.

 

"I knew it was a good business," she said.

 

In 1993 Reichle's wish to "do something with food" became a life-changing reality. For 13 years, she was co-owner, then owner, of the Kountry Kitchen. For most of those years, the restaurant prepared thousands of lunches for Heritage Academy and Annunciation Catholic School students, in addition to feeding a rush of daily customers. Later, in 2012, Dot would become food service manager for Heritage Academy. She retired from there in April 2019, with a well-deserved reputation for excellence. She gives ample credit to those she worked with at the restaurant and the school.

 

"I have always had the best staff. You have to have good cooks, people who take pride in their work," she emphasized. "I always cooked with a recipe until I bought the Kountry Kitchen. It was my wonderful staff that taught me how to cook my way."

 

Now a year into retirement, Dot's life is full, especially with nine grandchildren -- and the celebration of her first great-grandchild born last week. Her house on the hill is a place the family always knows a great meal awaits. And her mother's mayo? Yes, she makes it and relishes the memories. For The Dispatch, she used homemade mayonnaise in several dishes suited to a Mississippi summer and July 4th feast. Some of the recipes are from two favored cookbooks, from among the many she has -- "A Grand Heritage," published by Heritage Academy, and the Junior League of Jackson's "Southern Sideboards." Enjoy while having a happy, safe Fourth of July.

 

 

MARGARET'S HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE

 

Makes 2 pints

 

 

2 whole eggs

 

4 tablespoons lemon juice

 

1 teaspoon salt

 

1 teaspoon dry mustard

 

1 teaspoon pepper

 

2 cups salad oil

 

 

  • Put eggs, juice, salt, dry mustard and pepper in blender. Add 1 cup oil and spurt the blender on and off until it begins to form.

     

  • Add remaining oil gradually and stir with spatula as you blend with blender.

     

    (Source: Dot Reichle, a recipe used by her mother, Margaret Evans)

     

     

    DOT'S CHICKEN SALAD

     

     

    2 cups cooked chopped chicken

     

    About 2-3 stalks celery, chopped fine

     

    Lemon pepper, to taste

     

    Salt, to taste

     

    Black pepper, to taste

     

    Dash of garlic powder

     

    Lemon juice

     

    Margaret's homemade mayonnaise

     

    (As you can tell, I don't have amounts, but I cook and taste. Just do to your liking and enjoy.)

     

    (Source: Dot Reichle)

     

     

    PASTA SALAD WITH PARMESAN MAYONNAISE

     

    Makes 12 servings

     

     

    1 (8-ounce) package linguini, broken into 2-inch pieces, cooked, drained

     

    1 bunch green onions, sliced

     

    1 (10-ounce) box frozen green peas, thawed

     

    1 (4.2-ounce) can chopped black olives

     

    1 cup finely chopped ham (optional)

     

    1 (2-ounce) jar pimento, minced

     

     

  • Mix all ingredients together and carefully fold in Parmesan mayonnaise (see recipe below). Will keep several days; great for a picnic.

     

    (Source: "A Grand Heritage"/Nancy H. Laws, shared by Dot Reichle)

     

     

    PARMESAN MAYONNAISE

     

     

    1 large egg

     

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

     

    1/2 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce

     

    1 teaspoon dry mustard

     

    1/2 teaspoon salt

     

    1/2 teaspoon white pepper

     

    1 1/2 cups corn oil (scant)

     

    1/2-3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

     

     

  • Put all ingredients except oil and cheese in food processor; turn on and off to blend. Turn on processor, add oil very slowly. When mayonnaise forms, add cheese and process a little longer.

     

    (Source: "A Grand Heritage," Nancy H. laws, shared by Dot Reichle)

     

     

    TOMATO BISCUITS

     

    Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscuits

     

     

    For biscuits:

     

    2 cups plain flour

     

    3 teaspoons baking powder

     

    1/2 teaspoon salt

     

    2/3 cup shortening

     

    1 cup milk

     

     

    For sandwiches:

     

    Biscuits

     

    Homemade mayonnaise

     

    Salt and pepper

     

    Sweet basil

     

    Vine-ripened tomatoes

     

     

  • For biscuits, preheat oven to 300 F. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add shortening and milk and mix with fork until a moist dough forms. Dough should be moist enough to handle lightly.

     

  • Knead 2 or 3 times. Roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness, cut biscuits and place 1/2 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes.

     

  • Cool biscuits, slice in half and spread mayonnaise over each half. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

     

  • Peel tomatoes and slice 1/4-inch thick. Just before serving, put tomato slices between biscuit halves.

     

    (Source: "A Grand Heritage"/Lucy B. Jones, shared by Dot Reichle)

     

     

    BASIL MAYONNAISE

     

     

    1 large egg

     

    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

     

    1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

     

    2 tablespoons chopped green onion

     

    1 teaspoon salt

     

    Fresh ground pepper

     

    1 cup olive oil

     

     

  • Mix everything except olive oil. Stream in oil in blender or food processor.

     

    (Source: Sherry Peel, from Brenda White; shared by Dot Reichle)

     

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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