God just winked at me. I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. It’s a wonderful feeling. Peace comes over me.
I’ve been recruited to make potato salad for 85 hungry folks that will show up in about 8 hours for the 4th of July BBQ lunch. Okay, potato salad … for 85. Potatoes, eggs, celery, onions, relish, mayonnaise.
I power up my computer and sign on to my website. I’ll just take a peak at my mom’s potato salad recipe, which I have no doubt shared with readers some time during the past 4 years of blogging. I type p o t a to s a l a d into the search box. A moment passes. Nothing. I click through to the INDEX tab, scroll down to S A L A D and begin to scan for mom’s recipe. Nothing.
My brain can’t quite comprehend that I haven’t written her recipe, her exact instructions and her special magic. How can this be? Then I remembered her telling me she “just makes it“. No exact measurements, just by feel. I remember thinking I would take time to watch her make potato salad and write down the process and ingredient measurements.
But I never did it.
So now God is flat-out laughing at me and no longer winking! I’ll just call mom and we can “chat” about the recipe. No wait. It is 3:30 a.m. Central time and she is sleeping soundly at my brother’s home in Kansas City.
So, I knew what I had to do — put on my big girl panties (sorry guys) and get to work! I fill big pots with water and put five pounds of potatoes in each pot. I fill another kettle with water for the eggs.
Here is what I do know:
- Mom says the potatoes must be cut up while they are still warm. This creates chunks of potatoes with just enough mushy potato to make the best salad.
- Eggs need to be cut up small and a little mushy
- The mayo dressing should have little mustard, but not too much, a little sugar, but not too much, and there should be a hint of onion, but not too much.
- Mom always uses celery seed, but HH hosts bought beautiful celery for the salad, so I will use fresh celery, cut up very small.
In NYC potatoes take about 55 minutes to cook at a slow rolling boil. During that time I cooked the eggs, took off the shell, cut them up, diced up the celery and chopped the onion very fine. I added sweet pickle relish and this lovely concoction was ready for the potatoes and the dressing.
These potatoes were slightly cooled but I still played a little “hot potato” as I skinned off the peeling.
I’ve mixed the egg mixture with the potatoes and am ready for the dressing. Here is where a wing and a prayer came in.
I don’t care for dry potato salad and I knew the warm potatoes were going to absorb this dressing pretty fast. So you can see from this picture there was plenty of dressing making it a little wet looking.
It took me exactly 3 hours from start to finish to make potato salad for 85. That includes washing up the dishes! Just as I finished at 7:30 a.m. folks started arriving in the kitchen for breakfast and to get the rest of the food ready for the 1:00 p.m. BBQ.
This pan holds a 5 lb bag of potatoes and all the eggs, veggies and dressing to make it ready to serve 25 people. The salad stayed in the refrigerator until 12:55 p.m. and was cold and ready to serve at 1:00 p.m. The dressing was perfectly absorbed and the salad not-too-dry, not-too-wet.
When my Chief Potato Salad taster came in to the kitchen I popped a spoonful of potato salad into his mouth. He said …
“It’s not your mother’s potato salad … ” (me, holding my breath …)
” … but it is delicious!”
That was good enough for me. I planned to give you a picture of this salad plated but when the crowd cleared from the food line – there wasn’t a drop of potato salad left. But we had plenty of watermelon to go around!
Happy salad making for your next get-together!
- 5 lb. white potatoes
- 6 hardboiled eggs, diced small
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup sweet pickle relish
- 3 ribs celery, diced small
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon white sugar
- ½ cup Milk to thin dressing
- Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover, 45 minutes or until tender; drain and cool slightly. Peel potatoes, and cut into ½-inch cubes.
- Stir together diced egg, diced celery, chopped onion, and pickle relish. Salt and Pepper to taste. Add to cut-up potato. Mix well.
- Stir together mayonnaise, sugar and mustard. Stir in up to ½ cup milk, making the dressing just thin enough to pour but still quite thick. Gently stir into potato mixture.
- Cover and chill well.