Make a damp dish towel into a ring on the kitchen table, then set a big, round bottomed mixing bowl in it. Separate the yolks out by cracking the eggs over a second bowl and letting the whites fall into it through your fingers.
Whisk the yolks, salt, and mustard together in the first mixing bowl. When it's all uniform—after about 10 seconds of whisking—begin to add the oil in a very slow stream, only drop by drop.
Once the mayonnaise comes together—and begins to thicken, start adding the oil more quickly. Add the water and lemon juice when it becomes difficult to whisk. Whisk in the remaining oil, adding a little more than the two cups if it all seems stable. Taste for salt. Refrigerate if not using immediately, and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Serve in a bowl, with simply boiled vegetables, or raw vegetables, and a lot of warm bread.
From An Everlasting Meal (Scribner) by Tamar Adler.