To drive to my hometown — where I was born and raised — takes just 7 or 8 hours. Even still, I‘m constantly surprised at how “new” things can be, living here — as an immigrant. The border may not be that far away, but wow…some things are so very different. Whether regional or national, it’s been interesting to learn about these differences — a lot of the time, they’re something that’s just slightly different, in a way I never would have considered.
As a food writer, many of the differences that I notice are culinary. People don’t tend to put vinegar on their fries here — and fries with gravy is an even more rare thing! What I know as “iced tea” is far closer to the southern “sweet tea” than local “iced tea” — but is not actually brewed tea. It’s a powder! Before moving here, I’d never seen yellow potato salad — ever. The idea of putting mustard in potato salad was completely bizarre to me, but my husband loves the stuff, and it seems pretty popular.
Growing up, all of the potato salads I’d ever had were made completely differently: No mustard, the flavor comes from an oil-based salad dressing. Rather than plain potatoes in a flavored “sauce,” I was used to marinating the potatoes. Plain mayo was the sole “sauce” ingredient, but picked up flavor from the marinade. Rather than the mostly uniform texture of the mustard version, our potato salads had to be full of crunch — usually from celery and radishes.
So, for those of you who are interested in trying new things, I present my grandmother’s potato salad. It’s what I grew up on, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!
Grandma’s Potato Salad
3-5 lbs red potatoes, chopped into 3/4"″-1"″ cubes
1.5 cups Italian salad dressing
3 green onions, sliced
4 celery stalks, sliced
8 radishes, thinly sliced
3/4 – 1 cup full fat mayo
5-6 eggs, hard boiled and sliced
Boil potato cubes until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, but still firm – about 30 minutes. Strain, and place into a large non-metallic bowl. Pour Italian dressing over warm potato cubes, gently stir to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Several hours before serving, add green onion, celery and radish slices. Fold into potatoes. Add mayo (3/4 cup if you like a drier salad, more if you like it creamier), gently stir until potatoes and vegetables are evenly coated. Gently fold in the egg slices, season with pepper to taste. Enjoy!