Potato Salad Stories

I think it is safe to say that every family has their own  Potato Salad recipe that they think is the best. They aren’t wrong. To them, their recipe is THE BEST! When discussing the topic of Potato Salad with my friend Mandee, who blogs over at The Kitchen Wife  We spoke about how every person has their own special ingredients they add to their potato salad that make it unique. Often times the recipe is passed down from a favorite Aunt or a Grandmother and little things are changed or added along the way. Along with those recipes come stories of family parties, picnics, and memories of when this salad was served. It had me thinking how every recipe has it’s own “Potato Salad Story”. Since it’s Summer and too hot to cook, I had potato salad on my mind and I started thinking about my own potato salad recipe and how it came about.

My potato salad story is one that I cherish. I have mentioned before that I worked for The Chicago Park District for 16 years before I decided to leave and embark on the self employed career path. The job itself and what it entailed is a story for another time but overall it was a very family oriented and cozy place to work. Most parks in the park system were outfitted with a full kitchen and cooking was a part of my career both personally and professionally. I taught countless cooking classes in my 16 years but eating together as a staff was a normal part of park district culture. I had the good fortune of working with people from all different cultural backgrounds and walks of life. Sharing food together during breaks was a daily ritual. One particular co-worker  was my friend Yolanda who was Puerto Rican. Our paths crossed at a park on the Northwest Side called Avondale. She was the caretaker of the building and I instructed all the classes. We became fast friends and bonded over our love of cooking, eating and drinking. Soon after meeting I was welcomed to attend all her family parties that were filled with a mix of amazing Puerto Rican food, Mexican food and American dishes. I have so many great memories of being included in these parties, so much laughter, so much dancing and lots and lots of drinking! Many a night I woke up on Yolanda’s couch and we would laugh all the way to work albeit while nursing some nasty hangovers. One of my favorite things that Yolanda made for a lot of her family parties was her potato salad. I begged her so many times for the recipe. One day she finally agreed to show me. We walked to the local grocery store near the park and we bought all the ingredients needed to make the dish. We went back to the park and she showed me her secrets. I may have adjusted her recipe ever so slightly over the years, but the memory of her and this dish have stood the test of time.

Here is what you need:

  • 4 to 6 Medium to Large Idaho Potatoes, Peeled
  • 3 Stalks of Celery with the leaves intact, diced  and the leaves minced
  • 1 Medium Sized Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Medium Sized Granny Smith Apple, not peeled, diced
  • 4 T of Fresh Parsley Minced
  • About 4 T of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, You can use more or less, my version is not super thick with mayo, but you can adjust to your taste.
  • 1 T of Celery Seed
  • 2 t of Celery Salt
  • 1 t of Dry Mustard or 1 T Dijon Mustard
  • Black Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped, I don’t add this but from what I remember Yolanda did.

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It’s a very simple recipe really, the trick is letting it sit overnight so the ingredients work together. It tastes great when you make it, and tastes even better the next day. Here is what you do:

  • Boil the potatoes whole until they are just soft, it’s ok if they fall apart but you do not want them mushy.img_5118
  • Drain the potatoes and let them cool completely. I put them in the fridge for a bit to cool.
  • While they are cooled, rough chop them into a large bowl and add all the other ingredients.img_5144-1
  • Combine all the ingredients well.
  • I believe Yolanda also covered the pan of her potato salad with slices of hard boiled egg if I remember correctly. I do not do this, but you can. I leave mine in the bowl, cover it and let it sit overnight. Then I go to sleep and look forward to the next day!

This recipe is one of mine and definitely one of Mr. Tipsy’s favorites. He can sit and eat this whole bowl if I didn’t stop him. I love making it not only because it’s delicious but for the great memories of my old friend that it evokes. Memories I cherish and when I make this recipe I always smile thinking back on good times.

My friend over at The Kitchen Wife was also posting her potato salad recipe today. I encourage you to go check it out and see what you think! You can find it HERE I would also love to hear what your Potato Salad Story is. What are the special ingredients you add to your recipe that make it yours? Tell me in the comments!

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For another great recipe check out my recipe for The ONLY Way To Cook Cauliflower.unnamed

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