The One True Potato Salad


| 8/5/2008 3:47:36 PM


Tags: food, potato salad, Mom,

Here at the GRIT offices, we have found that Potato Salad is a very individual thing. Everyone has “their way,” and a chorus of “That’s just not potato salad”s has been heard around here. When I’m grilling burgers on a July afternoon, I usually just go pick up some Amish Potato Salad down at the corner big-box. (What makes potato salad Amish, anyway?) However, when it’s mano a mano with the other staffers, I had to go all out.

In preparation for making The One True Potato Salad™, I first called the Potato Salad Oracle (aka my mom) to get the “recipe” for “Potato Salad a la Mom,” which is a combination of Grandma Holm’s version and Grandma Nemec’s version.

Yukon Gold PotatoesI had already hard boiled the eggs and had the potatoes cubed and cooling in the fridge by the time I talked to the PSO, so her advice to use red potatoes was too late. I used the ones that I had, Yukon Golds that you can buy at your local market.

I started with six potatoes and eight hardboiled eggs. Apparently, the reason that I always think that there aren’t enough eggs in potato salad comes from my early years on the farm. We had to buy the potatoes, but we had chickens and the eggs were free. So, my mom’s potato salad always included many eggs. She suggested about a 1 to 1 ratio. And sweet baby gherkins (not relish). The eggs must be sliced in one of those egg slicer things with the wires (I went to the store and got one just for this). The potatoes cubed, and the pickles halved and sliced.

Chopping CompleteI often joke with people about learning some things by “osmosis,” but sometimes that’s the only way you can explain it. I was too busy editing the school paper, playing the French horn, and training for sports teams to learn to cook as a youngster, so I have entered the culinary world relatively recently. But when I picked up a pickle to slice it, I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen, and I could see her hands making the motions. (Either that or she was cutting up potatoes to make fried potatoes, another of our favorites.)



This completes the salad components, and all you need is “dressing.” Take about a cup of Miracle Whip (don’t worry KC, I used the “light” variety, and it still tasted fine), add a few glugs of cider vinegar, 3 spoons of sugar, some salt, pepper (I was light on the pepper because I’m not a pepper fan), and celery salt (because celery seed might get caught under someone’s partial).

Jennifer Nemec
10/2/2008 9:58:51 AM

Hi Steven, I hope you also bought the magazine... :) I'm pretty sure you're capable of recreating the conversation with my mom. She says, "Hello!" Oh, and shallots are tolerable, but still not something I'd choose to include... Thanks for the comment!


Steven
9/20/2008 2:29:56 PM

Jenn: This made me smile -- I saw Grit at the grocery store today, saw you had a blog, and rushed home to read it! : >) I'm picturing your mom on the phone, walking you through the recipe. Very sweet. One of these days, I'll make potato salad . . . with eggs, mustard, pickles, and maybe some onions (or how about shallots?). Thanks for blogging!


Steven
9/20/2008 2:29:37 PM

Jenn: This made me smile -- I saw Grit at the grocery store today, saw you had a blog, and rushed home to read it! : >) I'm picturing your mom on the phone, walking you through the recipe. Very sweet. One of these days, I'll make potato salad . . . with eggs, mustard, pickles, and maybe some onions (or how about shallots?). Thanks for blogging!







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