Why would anyone ruin a perfectly good potato salad — or cookout — with this stuff?
“Who brings the salad?”
When someone in my family asked that question, it meant one thing: “Who brought the potato salad?” No macaroni salad. No pasta salad. No green salad. (I didn’t realize green salad was even a thing until I was about 20.)
Potato salad is a staple at all cookouts, and with summer in full swing, expect that dish in abundance. Why? Because according to a surveypotato salad is the second most popular cooking dish after baked beans.
A good potato salad has few ingredients, such as mayo, eggs, a little mustard, celery, salt and pepper to taste, and maybe a few secret ingredients that Auntie also used (and refused to tell anyone, including her kids, who only see the recipe). after her death). And if you’re managing the salad, best bring your A-game. Not “bringing better” or “bringing hope”; best bring, which as we all know is as serious as it gets.
But every now and then someone tries to up his potato salad game, but instead is greeted with “what an idiot…”, in a tone you only hear if you forget to say “amen” after the preacher. I’m here to help you. To avoid the “somewhat crazy,” make sure you don’t add any of these items to your potato salad.
walnuts: Remember the first line of potato salad. It doesn’t crack. There are some candle recipes out there that call for walnuts and that’s just, well, nuts. If you want to get the look of a whole group of people (and feel embarrassed if no one touches what’s in that bowl), by all means add walnuts. I would avoid it. Me, I go by the “no notes of any kind” rule.
Raisins/dried cranberries: When I was a kid, my grandmother and aunt (her sister) used these phrases when I did something stupid. My grandmother: “Boy, are you out of mine?” (When she said it, she cut the “d” short for “ghost,” so it sounded like “mine.”) My aunt: “Honey, child, please.” When their voices went up an octave, I knew I was in big trouble. I recently went to a party and someone put raisins in potato salad, and I heard the voices of my grandmother and aunt converge in my head. “You’re out of mine, honey, please.” Yes, it was that bad, it looked like a bunch of rabbit turds mixed in the salad. Side eye time.
Fruit: Fruit is delicious on a hot summer day. peaches. plums. Cherries are my favorite. Fruit does not go in the salad. So imagine how perplexed I was when a friend told me there was such a thing as pineapple potato salad. †Editor’s Note: Whhhhhhhhh???) I thought he made that up, until I found out, to my… surprise, it’s true. Not only is it true, but there’s a raging debate about whether you should grill the pineapple first or just use diced canned fruit. RETURN of ElenTube fame said it best when he saw pineapple in this beloved dish. “This is not a potato salad.” Or as my aunt would say, Honey, please.
cornichons: I’m a salad purist and like basic, although a little flavor can be fine too. Cornichons are small, sour pickles made from pickles, which I once thought were mythical creatures. Cornichons are made from mini cucumbers. So now you know all the reasons why you shouldn’t use cornichons in your salad. It really is a cucumber – and you wouldn’t put a whole cucumber in your salad, would you? Cornichons are too sharp – and no one will have extra little baby cornichons if you need them last minute because they don’t know what they are.
Peas. Potato salad recipes from South Africa call for peas. I’m certainly not going to denigrate anyone’s cultural preference, but, Are you out of mine? Rumor has it that peas are good for a few things, although I can’t think of what. But I can imagine what peas are not good for: putting them in a salad. Of everything on this list, peas would be my least favorite. I just can’t imagine getting a nice fork full of creamy salad and biting into a vegetable I threw in the toilet to convince my mom I was actually eating them. Then only one item remains.
Cheese. Cheese goes well with potatoes, if they are baked, scalloped or baked. Chunks of cheese (or grated, for that matter) have no place in potato salad. It distorts the taste, especially when one has a fancy and uses gorgonzola, a blue cheese that has smelly feet. Cheese in salad mixes as well as Kim Kardashian and Kanye. Just keep them apart.
Ray Marcano is a longtime award-winning journalist who has written and edited for some of the country’s most prominent media brands. He is a past national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, a two-time Pulitzer juror and a Fulbright Fellow.
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