Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vinegary Potato Salad


Big Belle’s Potato Salad, sort of

My daughter was named after a woman I never met—my husband’s beloved grandmother. I would have loved to have known her. From pictures, I know that she had high-cheekbones, thick hair and bright eyes. I hear she never said anything that she didn’t mean. No unwarranted compliments from this woman. But, she was also a warm woman, a wonderful cook, and a caring grandmother. She made what I would call All-American food: corn bread, pies, fried chicken. Her bread is something that I almost feel that I have tasted thanks to my husband’s vivid descriptions.

Recently, I asked my husband if there are any of his mothers recipes that he would want to keep. My mother-in-law would be the first to say that she is not a whiz in the kitchen. It’s the kind of thing that might skip a generation. If your mother is an amazing cook, sometimes the shoes are a little too big to fill. One of Belle’s recipes that my mother-in-law did make was her potato salad. It was a recipe crafted in a time before cholesterol, before carbs and before weight watchers. Hearing the recipe, I always picture my husband as a little boy watching his grandmother mix a big bowl of the creamy, vinegary concoction in a large yellow bowl.

When the recipe was told over the phone, there were phrases like bacon grease, egg-y mayonnaise and sweet gherkin pickle juice mentioned. I am all for going all out once in a while. But, since I will be abstaining from the salad due to a recent and serious aversion to vinegar, I think my husband decided not to go whole hog. Instead he went with a vinegary, bacony salad that looked lovely. But, if you think that means he was totally healthy, don’t be fooled. He did use some bacon grease.

Big Belle’s Vinegary Potato Salad

Combine in a bowl:
6 medium red potatoes, boiled and cut into large squares, still slightly warm
¼ medium red onion, sliced into rings
½ cup sliced radishes
2 TB grapeseed veganaise (sorry vegans)
2 T olive oil
4 strips bacon crumbled
1 handful green olives with pimentos
2-3 handfuls of dill, chopped
2 T bacon grease (optional)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
This is also my entry for the blog event--Picnic Online game

I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...
A-Apple Pie with Dutch Crumb Topping
B-Buttermilk Spice Cake
C-Chocolate Cherry Pie
D-Dilly Potato Salad
E-Election Day Cake
F-Fruit Cocktail Meringue Pie
G-Gluten Free Upside Down Cake
H-Hangar Steak
I-Ice Cream in a Bag
J-Jell-O a la Haute
K-Kue Pukis
L-Lotek Salad
N-Nectarines Grilled & Glazed (image soon)
O-Still shopping...
P-Potato Balls (Cynthia can't "play" but she's here in soul:)
Q-Quesadilla (Elise is "swamped" right now. She sends picnic greetings)
R-Redneck Gazpacho (coming soon)
S-Shook-Bag Chicken (coming soon)
U-Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork
V-Vinegared Potato Salad
W-Warm Sweet Potato Biscuits
X-XXX Pizza


Dhanggit said...

This is one thing I havent eaten for a long time, potato salad!! Love the idea of vinegar on it..yum!!

ps, my mom-in-law is not a good cook LOL so she always asks me for cooking ideas :-)

racheld said...

I'm enjoying all of these SO much!!

I'm sorry I was late getting my three dishes to Louise---they can be found here:


Redneck Gazpacho

Shook-Bag Chicken

The potato salad sounds wonderful; it's almost the recipe for Wilted Lettuce Salad, but with potatoes. And your Big Belle sounds like a person I could "neighbor" with, as my Mammaw used to say.

angela@spinachtiger said...

My one grandmother is not Italian and also was a great all American cook. I remember her pies. Others remember her southern fried chicken. Isn't great when women like that leave a food legacy.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love that name Maybelle.

5 Star Foodie said...

What a unique potato salad recipe - I love the additions of olives and radishes!

Pam said...

That sounds good! I love potato salad in the summer.

Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen said...

What a delicious potato salad recipe! I love the stuff and am always looking for new versions. I'll sometimes add sundried tomatoes to mine.

Helene said...

That's nice to name your daughter after your husband grandmother.

What a great salad you made.

Cynthia said...

Oh I want some of that!

Foodycat said...

Belle sounds like a wonderful woman! I wonder what it was like when you could use bacon grease in something and not have to apologise or feel guilty?

I like my potato salad on the tangy side, so this sounds like just my sort of thing!

Dharm said...

What a lovely post! Family recipes are always best kept and passed on down the generations. Hubby's grandma sounds like such a lovely person and that salad looks just great!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I like this vinegar-y version of the potato salad, and hooray for the bacon grease (that hanger-on)!

~~louise~~ said...

Oh MM, thank you so much for "bringing" your vinegary potato salad to the picnic. A sweet puckering time was had by all...

Gloria Chadwick said...

I've never put vinegar in a potato salad. I'll have to try it cause it sounds good. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delicious sounding and looking salad! I love vinegar in potato salads!



Y said...

Potato, bacon, vinegar.. yum.

chou said...

This sounds like a lovely addition to a beautiful virtual picnic. I wish you'd had the chance to meet Belle, she must have been quite the woman.

maybelle's mom said...

Dhanggit: I think sometimes husbands with mom's who didn't cook like women who can.

racheld: thanks for passing on your links. This wilted lettuce salad sounds interesting.

angela@spinachtiger: my husband also talks about his grandmother's fried chicken. And, thanks about the name.

5 Star Foodie: thanks.

Pam: me too.

Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen: ooh the tomatoes sound so nice.
Helene: thanks.

Cynthia: thanks.

Foodycat: must be freeing to be able to use fat with impunity.

Dharm: I agree, family recipes are the best.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js: indeed, I agree.

~~louise~~: thanks for doing the event.

Gloria Chadwick: thanks in return.

Rosa's Yummy Yums: me too.

Y: indeed.

chou: I know I really do wish I could have.