Saturday, August 1, 2009

4 Hour Potato Salad....20 Minute Consumption

"Can I do something to help with the bereavement meal?", I asked.

A dedicated and long-time parishioner from our church passed away last week and it has always been a tradition for the Church to prepare and serve a meal for the family following the funeral. Sally, our Church organist is usually the one who steps up to the plate and organizes the whole thing.

"Sure, you can make potato salad. I have a great diabetic recipe", replied Sally.

"Absolutely", I replied confidently. "How much should I make"?

"Enough for 30-50 people", said Sally.

I thought to myself, hmmm, 30-50 people? I have alot of potato salad to prepare. This will be a challenge for me because I have never in my entire life ever made potato salad. What was I thinking?? So, off to the store I went to purchase two 5 lb. bags of red potatoes. Mom recommended a great recipe from her antique Pennsylvania Dutch cook book from 1960 and gave me some quick tips for making the perfect salad. I opted for Mom's recipe and was eager to get home to prepare my horrid mess creation.

I am sure many of you reading this post have made potato salad before and are fully aware of the steps it takes to prepare the salad such as peeling the potatoes, dicing them, boiling them, letting them cool, etc... I painstakingly went through all of these steps, but keep in mind I peeled, diced, boiled and cooled 10 lbs. of potatoes, plus I hard boiled a dozen eggs, so this took a good amount of time. Two hours later, no problems. My potatoes were cooling and anxiously awaiting the creamy, homemade PA Dutch boiled sauce to be poured over top. Only problem is, I scorched the first batch of sauce. At this point you are probably thinking about all of your wonderful potato salad recipes which are a snap! Well, it's a little too late to tell me about them now! So, I made another batch of sauce and carefully stirred it until it was bubbly and thickened. This time it did not scorch.

Hours after cooling, I meticulously poured the homemade sweet and sour sauce over the potatoes and gently tossed them to coat each and every one. As the recipe recommends, I refrigerated the potatoes overnight so that the flavor would soak in.

In the morning, I had planned to slice the hard boiled eggs and lay them decoratively atop the potatoes. However, when I retrieved my bowl containing 10 lbs. of salad from the fridge, I was distraught to find that my firm potatoes had turned to mushed potatoes. Has this ever happened to any of you?? I was almost in tears and with a funeral service and bereavement meal to attend in the early morning hours, I was seconds away from dumping the whole thing into the trash! I will simply have to purchase potato salad from the store, I thought. This is where God must have intervened because I did not dump the potatoes. I pulled myself together, sliced the eggs, laid them atop the potatoes, sprinkled them with lots of paprika and parsley flakes, snapped a few photos and off I went.

At the bereavement meal, I shared my story with the pastor and with Sally. They chuckled and probably thought I was a little kooky. The pastor tried to make me feel better by telling me he has had all kinds of potato salad - mushy and firm. Gee, thanks. Somehow, that did not make me feel better. We had about 75 persons at the bereavement meal and after about 20 minutes of serving, my potato salad was gone. Would you know that at least 4 people, whom I had never met before, raved over my potato salad? Some even came back for seconds. One lady asked if it was the PA Dutch recipe. She said she hasn't had potato salad like that in years! I was tickled pink.

Today, another one of our parishioner's has passed away. I telephoned the pastor to let him know and I informed him that I will not be making potato salad.


Sayre said...

OH, that sounds delicious!!! Obviously it wasn't nearly as bad as you feared if it disappeared that fast!

Janis said...

I love that potato salad recipe, its really the only one I will actually eat. So glad you don't have to go into therapy Next time volunteer for pasta salad, thats a breeze to make.

Tracy said...

Oh my...that is an ancient cookbook. I didn't know your story ended happy and satisfiying! Give yourself a pat on the back. Now you can say you made potatoe salad but, to save yourself the trouble, next time call Nana.

Tracey9AD said...

It looks yummy, but I have never had mushy potato salad before!

quilly said...

That recipe sounds like the one my father loved on his coleslaw! We kept a mason jar full of it mixed up so all we had to do was shred the cabbage and carrots and then pour! I never tried it on salad, but I just might now -- but not 10 pounds worth!


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