Friday, July 31, 2015

Want Potato Salad With That?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

The answer to the subject line of this post is ...that depends on where I am. If I'm at my own home--or anyone else's--then that answer would be an unequivocal YES! My Mum and her sister made THE best potato salads on the planet. They bore little resemblance to each other, but both vied for prominence as THE best.

My Mum made her potato salad with onions, celery, sweet pickle relish, and radishes, with egg slices as the crowning touch.  My aunt (her sister) mixed chopped hot hard-boiled eggs in along with the mayo, onion, celery, etc.  Can you say these sisters ruled in potato salad land?  That would be a definite YES!  (And considering they were English girls making an American favorite -- they both excelled!)

I have tried potato salad in scores of restaurants with the same (iky) results. The mayo, onion, celery part is good (some even have sour cream, and even though I'm not a sour cream fan, the mixture was good), but for some reason restaurants (and grocery store deli departments) potato salad has one HUGE flaw:  the potatoes are ALWAYS undercooked.

ICKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr. L and I went out to lunch on Wednesday to one of our favorite local restaurants.  Every other time we have ordered a sandwich we have always been served a marvelous macaroni salad--and it's never the same and always good. Sometimes it's made with sour cream--sometimes it's not.  Once it was made with sun-dried tomatoes (OMG--THE best).  The pasta is always different (and not chewy, either.  Sorry--I'm not a fan of al dente pasta.)  But on Wednesday ... you guessed it-- UNDERCOOKED potatoes in potato salad.

What's with that?

Some of the chefs are CIA (Culinary Institute of America) trained. Don't tell me they can't tell when a potato is cooked or raw.

So, do all restaurants (and grocery store delis) buy their potato salad from one Giant Potato Salad Conglomerate that has decreed that ALL potato salad in the US will be made with undercooked potatoes -- or were they trained to think that the masses couldn't tell a cooked potato from an uncooked one?

Sadly, my Mum is gone. I will never eat her potato salad again. And much as I've tried to replicate it, I can only come close.

I want my Aunt's potato salad recipe. I'm calling her on Monday and will ask because it's been years since I've eaten her version. All I remember is that last HUGE dollop that I preferred to eat instead of the steak, burger, or hot dog that was on offer because it was THAT good.

Do YOU have a magic potato salad recipe?