potato salad

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This blog is the transcript of my life journey. My navigation through broken hearts and burgeoning spirits…redirected aspirations and the life-sustaining breath of love.

One of the most satisfying parts of the journey involves food…so I decided to share with you one of my very favorite things to eat: my mama’s potato salad.

It is beautiful how something as simple as potato salad can connect hearts across generations. Today, I made my mom’s recipe (as best as I could remember it from watching her do it countless times over the years) and it was like hearing her voice each step of the way as I prepared and mixed the ingredients.

One of the things I love about her potato salad recipe is that it isn’t smooth. The ingredients are rough-cut and real. She often boils the potatoes with the skin still on and then peels them when they’re still hot. (I have memories of my dad grabbing a steaming potato from the pot to steal a bite before it was done.) It’s that rough realness that reminds me of life. Things aren’t always perfect or exactly as planned, and we have to roll with it. Recognizing the beauty of those challenging peaks and exhausting valleys makes life infinitely more wonder-filled.

Another thing I love about mom’s potato salad is that it has always been focused on community. She has made bowl after bowl of it for family gatherings, birthday parties, church potlucks, and to give comfort to those who have lost someone dearly loved. Even the ingredients reflect community…all of those individual elements being brought together to form a mixture that is significant and satisfying.

Tomorrow, my kids will eat it with me at family dinner. Mom’s potato salad will be enjoyed alongside Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and slices of traditional cheesecake. Creation…comfort…connection…I love that food can be so instrumental in such things.

Here, for your culinary curiosity, is my mama’s recipe for potatoey goodness:


Yvonne Marie Cosand’s Potato Salad

(as remembered and interpreted by her son, David)

WHAT YOU NEED: (Keep in mind, most of these amounts are totally negotiable depending on your specific taste and how dry or saucy you like your potato salad. I prefer a drier salad, so there you go.)

  • About 5 pounds of Russet potatoes (Try to get some grown in the Klamath Basin of Oregon. This recipe likes those best.)

  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes

  • 4 or 5 hard boiled eggs, rough-chopped

  • 1 jar (4 ounces) of sliced pimentos

  • ½ cup black olives, sliced

  • 4 or 5 green onions (Chop the whole thing up – white and green parts both!)

  • ½ cup chopped red onion (Optional…I don’t like it, but some misguided people in my family do.)

  • 3 Tbsp juice from Kosher dill pickles

  • ⅓ to ½ cup rough-chopped dill pickles

  • 3 Tbsp juice from sweet pickles

  • ⅓ to ½ cup rough-chopped sweet pickles (This is one of the only times I tolerate sweet pickles, by the way.)

  • 1 or 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • ⅓ to ½ cup real mayonnaise (More if you like it saucy.)

  • 3 or 4 Tbsp yellow mustard

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • ¼ tsp dill

  • Paprika for garnish

 

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Cut your potatoes in halves or thirds or quarters (I’m kind of casual about this…you choose), then boil in salted water until fork tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drain and chill…that will make it easier to peel and cut them into rough, 1-inch chunks.

  2. Put potatoes into a large bowl (I like a good stainless steel bowl, but no love will be lost if you choose glass or something else). Make a little “well” in the middle of the potatoes…sort of a bowl to pour your liquids into for mixing. Add the pickle juice, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper and gently blend it together. Taste it…if it’s to your liking, gently (don’t mash your potatoes! This isn’t that kind of recipe!) fold the potatoes and dressing together until it’s all nicely coated. Otherwise, adjust the dressing as needed.

  3. Add in the pickles, eggs, cheese, green onions, pimentos, olives, and – if you absolutely have to – red onions. Mix gently (remember…mix, don’t mash).

  4. Once everything is mixed and the potatoes are thoroughly coated with all that goodness, sprinkle some paprika on top, cover the bowl, and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Those flavors will dance and blend and the potato salad will be way better the next day.

  5. When the time is right and family is gathered around for a tasty meal, take out that amazing potato salad and heap some onto everyone’s plate. Eat it and enjoy, knowing that this recipe has been part of many, many gatherings and much, much love. Now, you’re included in it, too!

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2 thoughts on “potato salad

  1. Is this the same David Cosand who used to spin records as “Retro Boy”? The brother of Cheryl Cosand who gave me a Z100 anniversary tape (which I still have). The same David Cosand who has autographs from everyone he met?

    Anyhow, I was just mulling over old OIT memories and it looks like The Lord has been good in your life.

    Rob

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