Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mom's (and Grandmama's) Potato Salad

You will not likely be seeing many recipes from my Grandmama on this blog. She was beautiful, vivacious, and talkative, but cooking was not her thing. It didn't have to be. She was the youngest of thirteen children. Not all of them needed to learn to cook. She didn't particularly take to people asking about her cooking either. If anyone dared ask her What's for dinner?, she would reply Shit on a Shingle, which is not quite as rude as it sounds, since it's an old army term for chipped beef on toast. (Incidentally, if you ask my mother about SOS, she will tell you how to make it and even about the glass jar the beef comes in that you can repurpose as a juice glass, so consider yourself warned). At any rate, Grandmama's potato salad was a good deal better than shit on a shingle, possibly because this recipe was one also favored by her sisters (including ones that could and did cook well).


4 medium boiling potatoes (I like the red ones or baby new potatoes)
white vinegar
4T mayo
1T Dijon mustard
6 chopped baby sweet gherkins
1t onion salt
1t garlic salt
2 hard boiled eggs
lots of pepper (see picture) and some salt to taste

gluten-free note: Check labels, but you should be able to get gf mustard and mayo.

Cut potatoes into large chunks or leave the babies whole. Bring water to a boil and cook about 12-15 minutes. This is not really science. It depends on whether the water was really at a boil and how large your chunks are. Use that army fork and test them after 12 minutes. If you cook them too much, they fall apart and then you have potato mush instead of potato salad.

Drain and let cool in colander for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with plain old white vinegar. I think this is to keep the potatoes white while they cool, but it could also be to add some tang to all that creamy mayo.
When cool, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
It is important to wait until the potatoes are cool before assembling the salad or you are back to mush.
Place in a large bowl.
Cut hard boiled eggs into slightly larger cubes. Set aside.
Mix the mayo, mustard, gherkins and flavorings in a small bowl. Mix gently into the potatoes. When almost incorporated. Add the eggs. This is a very delicate operation because if you are too forceful or energetic with the tossing in of mayo, you will get- mush. again. Add salt and plenty of pepper to taste.


mom said...

This made me laugh. Thank you.

Kathryn said...

I think that must be a family trait. My father says the same thing whenever I ask!


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