Mamaw’s tater salad

Did I forget to mention potato salad?  There was always potato salad on Mamaw’s table. That perfect combination of creamy, crunchy, tangy, salty, starchy and  yummy, makes it impossible  for anybody else to hold up a candlestick.  Now, I have made Mamaw’s tater salad and so has my mom, my sister, my cousins, and my daughter and we all fall short of the glory of Mamaw’s.  But still we try.

Mamaw firmly believed that potato salad is yellow (from the mustard) and not that anemic white color of the imposters.  Another clue to her culinary authenticity is the thin sliced hard-boiled egg carefully placed across the top and sprinkled with the ever so subtle yet never to be omitted, paprika. Miraculously, every slice of celery has to be the same size and with-out strings.  The pickles have to be sweet gherkins, also cut to  perfectly resemble one another (forget the ones that come already chopped ).  The mayonnaise has to be Hellmann’s, the onions grated, and the mustard French’s.  And finally, everyone knows that potato salad tastes better the next day and has to be doctored up with a dollop of fresh dressing due to the drying out that occurs in the fridge overnight.  Here is Mamaw’s recipe :


Boil up some whole potatoes (skin on):  Poke and see if they are done

Peel skin off while warm.  Cut in cubes and salt and pepper (while still warm).

Chop up celery, and pickles

Grate in some onion

Fix sauce:  Mayo, a little mustard, some sugar (to cut the mustard) and milk to thin

 Stir it up real good and taste to see if you need more sugar or mustard

Pour sauce on potatoes.  Taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper

After chilled, put sliced egg on top

Sprinkle with paprika

Where are the proportions, you may ask?  Sadly, I must say, here in lies the question, the problem, the challenge, the opportunity and the mystery that ensures Mamaw’s supremacy.  Lots of luck!


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