Thursday, September 8, 2016

Family-Favorite Potato Salad {and Some Thoughts about My Mom}

This potato salad is a family-favorite. It's the perfect dish for any occasion, from a backyard barbecue to a football tailgate.

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First-day-of-school photos flooding your Facebook feed. Pinterest boards filled with healthy lunchbox ideas for kids. PSL everything. Judging by my online world, fall is here.

In real life, though, we're heading into a short heat wave and I'm clinging to summer for as long as I can. Even though I love the fall, I'm refusing to get into an autumn state of mind. Instead, I'm writing about potato salad, a side dish most often associated with summer.

I wanted to share an updated version of my mom's recipe for potato salad last summer. But that didn't happen. And then I planned to share it with you last month. Again, that didn't happen.

I had decided I was okay with delaying the post for yet another year to try and keep my blog content related to the current season. But then I had a panic attack one morning after coming to a terrifying realization -- I'm starting to forget my mother.

Memories of her in the final years of her battle with cancer are still fresh, even now. But the memories of her from when I was a child are fading. It's much harder for me to remember what she was like before her diagnosis... before I went off to college... before I learned how to drive...

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As I let this sink in, I could feel my heart breaking. I immediately starting rummaging around for a pen and piece of paper. Once I found them, I began listing anything and everything about her that came to mind:

She preferred writing in pencil on yellow legal pads... 
When she took me grocery shopping with her, she'd stop at the deli counter first to get me pepperoni to snack on while she shopped... 
She loved dancing to Billy Joel and Bonnie Raitt...

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Most of you reading this right now probably don't think a post about potato salad is necessary. It's not what you're looking for. But for me, a post about her potato salad is essential. I need it. I need it to be a way to reconnect with her. I need it to help release some of the memories trapped within the deep recesses of my mind.

It's hard missing someone who's been gone from your life for so long. Especially when you allow yourself to reflect on just how much it hurts not having them here.

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This potato salad has always been a family-favorite, and I tend to make it when I'm missing my mom the most. Even if that means throwing convention out the window and making it in the middle of winter.

The next time I make it, I'm going to think of her and of the list of memories of her that I captured on paper. This way, when I teach Caroline how to make it, I'll have plenty to tell her about her grandmother.

Family-Favorite Potato Salad
Serves: 4 | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dill relish
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (I use this, but mom preferred yellow mustard like this)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes to the boiling water and cook until just fork-tender. You don't want them to be too soft, otherwise they'll turn to mush when you mix the salad together.
  2. Drain the potatoes really well and spread them out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, relish, and mustard in a large bowl until combined. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Carefully add the warm potatoes and diced eggs and toss gently until the potatoes are coated evenly with the dressing.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go

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