Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Solid Potato Salad!

I can never think of Summer without thinking of potato salad. I realized this morning that I have never made potato salad! I feel like an imposter and can just imagine my relatives looking at me with shocked faces and wondering how I ever managed to get a husband. So, I am off to the market for the ingredients. That means that today, I will be shuffling around the kitchen in my Grandma's house shoes with the radio on. I love those days. I can't lie. My Dad and I have this theory that sometimes, that same Grandma comes through in spirit and helps our recipes turn out old-school perfect. I hope that it's true.

She was an amazing cook. Here she is serving up a pie in her ranch house kitchen.

Just look at my Aunt Etrulia's hair on the left there! Lofty and brilliant! That's her husband, Lindsey. The entire time that they were married, he called her "baby"...as in, "Baby, do you want some pie?" and "Baby wasn't able to come with me today." We all kind of giggled at him but in retrospect, isn't it sweet? She must have made a mean potato salad!

You just KNOW that there is some potato salad on the menu here too! (Will you look at those drapes and those cabinets? Fabulous!) That's my lovely Mom there in white. Looks like she didn't even have room to put her plate on the table. She's eating in mid-air because of that enormous ham platter! Ahh...the South.

Oh great. Now, I just want to go back in time and have my family cook for me!

Back to the task at hand! While at the market, I'm also going to get the makings to do a tutorial for y'all on those cute little cream cheese penguins that I showed a couple of days ago. I'm sure that the Mister will be shocked to find more penguins when he comes home today. I should really lay it on thick by meeting him at the door with a platter of penguins, his pipe and a pair of slippers. The poor boy would think that I'd finally gone over the edge!

If all goes well and I don't get committed, I should have the penguin tutorial up tomorrow.

Okay! Back to the topic of potato salad, I've found so many recipes online - some with mustard...some with mayo....some with pickles or eggs. To add celery or not to add celery? There seems to be quite a heated argument in some circles about what potato salad should entail! I decided to drown out the noise and take my quest to the stack of cookbooks in my own kitchen. I found these two recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens Salad book from 1958:

I think that I am going to make this one. The "Perfect Potato Salad".

If you have any good potato salad tips, be sure and let me know!

If all of this potato salad talk doesn't get you in the mood , then I bet this great video will! If you've never seen this performance by the Ross Sisters, stick with it. It gets really good, really fast! (and ignore this weird screen shot..it's completely wholesome, I swear)

Until next time,
x's and o's,


Shanna (PinkTrees) said...

those kitchen cabinets in the second photo are to die for! eep! being from the south myself (texas) we always had potato salad at bbqs but i don't remember having it at any other meal. i still make mine just as my grandma did: potatoes, chopped dill pickles, eggs, mustard, mayo and a little salt and pepper. the only tip i'd have it to let your potatoes drain completely (i spread mine out on paper towels) otherwise the water seeps out of the potatoes which separates from the mayo/mustard. nobody wants a runny 'tater salad!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

OMG! Well at first I was drawn in by the fact that I've also never made my own potato salad & wondering if that was a failing in my life. Then I started watching the video and my first thought was wow those girls have amazing figures, then I realised why!! WOW!

However back on the subject of potato salad would be interested to know how you did!

Alexandra Bitchford said...

My tip would be to make sure you leave enough lumps. I've had some that was just too smooth-like. There must be something about southern men and their southern women. Mr. Bitchford has a nickname for me. I'm known as Puddin'. It used to bug me, but everyone else thinks it's cute. I know it comes from a good place. Can't wait to see your tater salad!

MonsterAteMy said...

Love the photos! I do seem to recall that as a kid in the 70's, the 2 spices most used in cold salads of any sort were celery seed and paprika. *shudder*

I'm in search of the perfect potato salad myself. My aunt set the bar, but I don't know the recipe, except that it had hardboiled eggs. I'm anti-celery or pickle, myself.
Good luck!

Eartha Kitsch said...

Shanna: Good tip! I made sure to let the potatoes drain and dry. Thanks for the tip. I think that my Mom makes the exact same potato salad as you and it's yummy. I tried to call her to get the amounts but she wasn't home so I ended up trying these recipes. It took me forever! I know it shouldn't but it did. :)

Straight Talking Mama: Ha! Oh, you're right about that. One does not achieve the tiny waists and limber limbs of those gals by eating buckets of potato salad! I think that mine might come out okay. I ended up merging the two recipes that I showed here and did it by taste. We'll see once it all chills or congeals or whatever potato salad does...

Alexandra Bitchford: Oh yeah! The lumps are totally what makes it good. Aww...Puddin'! That's really sweet. I bet as the years go on, you'll really appreciate it. Just as I appreciate being called "Pickles". If nothing else, we can start the "Puddin' and Pickles" variety show and hit the senior center. They'll love us.

MonsterAteMy: You'd definitely shudder at the one that I made today then. I used tons of celery salt. I had to buy it because I don't think I've ever owned any. Then after it all was done, I asked myself, "How does my Mom get hers that color?" and realized, "Paprika!" Now, it's really, really covered in Paprika.

I skipped the celery because I'm like you on that one. I also don't like eggs but realized that I'd better take one for the team. I left the pickles out at first but then threw in a huge bunch of them at the end for color. Who knows how this stuff will taste? And my lord, I have enough for a barn raising and there are only two people at my house. Gulp.

ellyn said...

i'm trying to concentrate on the potato salad discussion at hand, but jiminy crickets, them gals are limber! that was fascinating, slightly disturbing, and yet altogether wonderful.

i'm old school and traditional on the potato salad. pickles for tang, celery for crunch. both diced small. as little onion as possible -- you can grate the onions and get onion juice! much easier to digest -- and although i'm with you on eggs, i think you need em hard boiled in here. the second BHG recipe sounds a lot like my granny's. she also added a generous heap o' vinegar.

your granny's kitchen looks like almost the spitting image of my granny's kitchen, down to the little cafe curtain and the cut-outs framing the sink. your aunt etrulia's (you are making that up!!) hair rivals my aunt virginia's. again with the separated at birth!

the mister calls me smellyn. it's not so flattering, but i've sort of taken to it -- it's even my email address. and my daddy harold (grandpa) called my mama faye (grandma) toots. which i always thought was pretty cute. just like you!

Sara In AZ said...

I love seeing those old pics. The kitchen and drapes are AWESOME!!! The hair is awesome too!!! I was just looking at some old pics of my Mom and family the other day and it really makes feel that time is speeding by so very quickly. I really have come to the conclusion that I would like to stop time right now!

Can't wait to see your Potato Salad, I'm sure it will be great!

Charm and Poise said...

I don't believe these sisters ever ate potato salad in their lives -- how else to explain their ability to wear those shorts?!?

The Mr. calls me Stinky and I call him Bumpy, by the way!

an said...

you had me at sour cream. xoxo

Kitsch and Curious said...

Blimey - those are some exotic ingredients for a potato salad! Your average British potato salad is - potato, mayonnaise, spring onions (scallions to you guys?). End of story.

The video! At first I was just very happy to discover there was a song about potato salad (I'm now thinking of writing one about shepherds pie). But then - those girls!!! What are they made of? Rubber? I watched with my hand over my mouth. I was a bit freaked out by the end...

Unknown said...

Aunt Etrulia's hair reminds me of Sister Vestal. Which makes me smile.

Grandma's potato salad was great, but as a child I preferred the boiled egg over the chopped onion, but she would cut them both to be exactly the same size so it was difficult going.

Mother makes a great potato salad too - instead of mayonnaise she uses Thousand Island salad dressing and she adds chopped bacon.

The Long & Winding Bobbin said...

Wow that video is amazing, and scary...
Potato salad here is more like:
Potato, hard boiled egg, mayonaise, mustard, spring onions (scallions) and crispy prosciutto or bacon. And whatever else is in the fridge. haha YUM now I really want to make some!
Yours sounds delicious, can't wait to see....

Sherrie said...

As a person of Pennsylvania Dutch lineage...I can tell you that our potato salad almost always had dry mustard in it, hard boiled eggs and sometimes bacon (not always bacon) And vinegar. Always vinegar. The PA Dutch love their vinegar. They'd pickle everything if they could.

Eartha Kitsch said...

Ellyn honey!: "Smellyn" - ha! That's kind of cute. It sounds like something that a boy in your fifth grade class might think of to taunt you but he's really deeply crushing you. I bet your hubby is deeply crushing on you. :D

Oh yes, her name was Etrulia. We all called her "Tude" though for some reason. Another one of those nicknames. I like that onion grating idea on the potato salad, by the way! Aww..."Toots"- I love that. And you're pretty cute, yourself!

Sara: I agree. My gosh, before long, we'll be senior citizens! Can you imagine? You'll wear all pink, I'll bet and do your hair up nice. I'll be the one in the garish purple numbers with hair that is never combed in the back.

Charm and Poise: Stinky and Bumpy! Ha! You kids are a riot! And that kind of sounds like the name for a kid's cartoon show. I'm with you, those girls probably eat nothing but lean meat and air!

an: You and me both! Creamy, creamy goodness...I eat it on my breakfast cereal. Well, not really!

Kitsch and Curious Elaine: This was the first time that I'd heard of scallions in potato salad when I read this one recipe and read your comment. I bet it would be good. Your kind sounds quicker too!

Did you keep thinking that the girls would break in two? I did! I can't wait to see and hear your rendition of shepherd's pie! I hope that you wear gingham too!

JohnnyBerry: Hold the phone. Thousand Island and bacon? Oh. My. Gosh. That sounds like the most amazing merger with potatoes EVER.

And I'm with you - when the onion and egg sizes are the same, you can't easily pick things out. Ooh! What if one of those were dyed a bright color before going into the salad?? Festive AND pick-out-able!

The Long & Winding Bobbin: I swear, this adding of bacon to potato salad sounds so amazing. I wish I'd tried it before I went vegetarian!

Sherrie: I admire your people's love of the vinegar. Yum! And the bacon again...I feel like I've been living under a rock to have never tried that. Dry mustard is amazing stuff. I used celery seeds for the first time with those potato salad - also amazing. Celery taste without actual celery crunch.

Rebecca Jean said...

Oh my stars, that was the freakiest thing I have ever seen! Potato salad will never be the same for me.

♥ Rebecca Jean
Midnight Maniac

Eartha Kitsch said...

Ha! Isn't it freaky? My gosh. I had to watch it three times the first time I saw it. It's just...yep. freaky.

user said...

Wow. The last thing I expected out a song about potato salad was contortionist act like that! What a fun surprise!

P.S. New visitor. love the blog! Will be keeping an eye on you. ;P

Eartha Kitsch said...

I know! If only all of life were like that...

And thanks! Please come back by any time!