Salad

Well, I learned something this week. I found out that what we consider the typical American potato salad with mayonnaise is not American, but from Northern Germany. That is fun for me, as all my people come from the north of Germany.

Richard Hellman he of the mayonnaise company, immigrated to New York City in 1904, married a young German woman who had a great mayonnaise recipe and parents who ran a deli, and the rest is history. He was from Prussia, in Northeast Germany. My research tells me that most North German potato salad has mayonnaise and always has had mayonnaise, and that only the South Germans, mainly from Schwabia, have hot potato salad with a vinaigrette on it. Northern Germans apparently eat this stuff by the gallon. I guess that the number of immigrants to the US from Northern Germany influenced potato salad culture here.

I found a terrific Northern German potato salad recipe and made some this weekend.

North German Potato Salad (with a cool Hack)

Husband had four bowls of it after he did his yard work on Sunday, and his people come from Schwabia!

What are your favorite summer salads? If you immigrated, what recipes and traditions would you bring with you?

62 thoughts on “Salad”

  1. OT: I commented on Linda’s jar opening video yesterday, but will say it again. Very good, but best to have a suitable tool, as Linda does, rather than wear the tips of all your spoons over the years. With the slight risk of bending them, also.

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      1. Too bad I forgot to check the Trail over the weekend! Lots of good ideas there. I have my mom’s Foley Easy Twist jar lid opener from the 1950s, which is a kind of ratchet tool. “Removes all screw caps” it says, and it’s no lie. I’ve used it to get the tops off everything from a pickle jar to a vanilla extract bottle. You find one of those in good condition at a vintage shop or swap meet, grab it!

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    1. I try not to use spoons as tools. You can easily end up with spoons that don’t nest properly because they have been slightly bent at the narrowest point.

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  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I have a few salads I prepare in the summer—Chicken Wild Rice, Greek Orzo (I posted recipe a few weeks ago), Tuna. Right now I like to make the Italian Caprese salad with the wealth of tomatoes and basil. In fact that is on the menu for supper tonight. I also found a peanut sauce that makes a nice Thai chicken salad. There is an Asian Sesame-Ginger Sauce that I like with Asian Rice noodles. You serve it with chopped veggies and protein. It also is very salad-y.

    OT, Over the weekend I was at Lake Okoboji with my High School friends. We had a wonderful time together and they celebrated my 69th birthday with me. I developed a sore throat when I arrived home; I tested positive for COVID. I don’t feel terribly ill, but I will live my life online this week. This virus is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it?

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  3. I don’t eat much salad–I think I came to resent the stuff because of too many restaurants expecting that I could just live on green salad (after picking off the cheese, of course, and with only oil and vinegar because all of the dressings had dairy in them) and didn’t rate an entree of my own. In fact, I usually prefer hot food over cold, so I’d rather have the soup than the salad.

    During the hotter weeks of this summer I did experiment with a couple of pasta salad recipes, which turned out adequately if not spectacularly. I sometimes make vegan potato salad, which satisfies my nostalgia cravings when I can’t get Reverie’s smoked potato salad with artichoke hearts (yum!). My current favorite sandwich to make is chickpea salad, which is sometimes presented as a sub for tuna salad (which I never liked, so I leave out the ingredients like kelp powder that are meant to make it taste fishy).

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  4. Apparently, I’m pretty good at this cooking stuff beyond my mom’s “what’s in the fridge to make dinner with?” recipes. I’m told that my chai-spiced cookies, waffles, and caramel sauce are rather amazing and my cranberry/rhubarb chutney is incredible. Who knew?

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  5. Contrary to my DNA I don’t like German potato salad. Not a fan of warm/hot salads.
    Why are deli potato salads so awful? My mother’s potato salad was good. Sandy’s was spectacular. Few things she made were that good. Chocolate chip cookies may be the only other thing. Yesterday she announced the ground was covered in snow and that we were divorced.
    OT My granddaughter at South Dakota State heard her cousin’s name called for roll call this morning in class but she did not see who answered. He probably did the same. They have not seen each other for a few years. She has two ot her cousins enrolled there.

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      1. Here it’s typically just the first day so the teacher knows who’s there and they know they’re in the right classroom. You’d be surprised how often someone isn’t at the right place. 🙂

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        1. That’s about the only horrible thing that DIDN’T happen to me at school. Didn’t go to any college.

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        2. I have told this story before about the man who moved up from the south to teach in TH and in his first class he had the names Aho, Ahola, and Frikken and was afraid to say everyone.

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      2. I assume first Day of class only. I had a few classes that took roll call every day at the U. I think most took it the first day to check who was there often for those who were on a waiting list. I got into one class that way. Sometimes when instructor put name of class on the board a few left, apparently in wrong room.

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  6. Other than my recipe for rice pudding, I don’t have any old family recipes. Everything else has been captured from various sources, or developed by us over the last half century. If I were to emigrate somewhere, the food I would make would depend on where I landed. Our normal range of recipes is ethnically and seasonally varied but it’s mostly based upon the ingredients at hand and so it would be in a new place.

    I like salads in the summer. Aside from green salads with a wide array of veggies and sometimes topped with a poached egg, I make tabouli, coleslaw, potato salad (with mayo and sour cream and lots of hard boiled eggs), wild rice chicken salad, chicken tarragon pasta salad, greek pasta salad and a soba cucumber tuna salad. Probably others, but that’s what comes to mind.

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  7. I love salads of all kinds. Salade Nicoise, panzanella, fattoush, and tabouleh are among my favorite summer salads. But really, how can you go wrong with any salad with fresh fruit or veggies?

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  8. Oh good – there are lots of ideas here, and that picture up top is great, Renee – if salads always looked like that…

    Food- and cook-book from the 80s, Fit for Life, has great main dish salads in it, and I still have my copy (!)… There’s a Potato Lovers’ Salad with lots of lettuce and spinach, but also broccoli, red cabbage, and an enhanced mayonnaise dressing… may make that next time we dig up some of our Yukon golds.

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    1. The thing I like about the potato salad recipe that goes with the photo is that you soak the cooked potatoes in hot vegetable broth for 30 minutes before you add the mayonnaise dressing. The potatoes absorb the broth, not the dressing, and the salad doesn’t get gloppy oy gummy.

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  9. As an immigrant, I have no doubt, especially in my early years in the US, used the comfort of some traditional Danish foods to soothe me when I felt homesick or unsettled. But mostly, I’ve embraced the regional foods of wherever I’ve found myself at the moment. I can’t think of a food I don’t like, though there are foods that I prefer over others. Weather is a big factor. What I crave on a blustery winter day is different from what I want on hot and humid summer day.

    To me, Christmas calls for a traditional Danish feast; turkey or ham just won’t do. On the other hand, much as I love lasagna, that’s just not acceptable for Thanksgiving. Other than that, there are few other foods that I associate strongly with holiday celebrations. There are so many interesting flavors and taste sensations to explore, and I don’t want to miss any of them.

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        1. Did Danes ever have a lutefisk tradition, or was that just Norway? I found the stuff reprehensible. It was part of Lou’s family tradition. The potatoes and meatballs were delicious though.

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  10. I love salads and eat them year round. Most of the time I just make a chopped vegetable salad starting with fresh spinach. I use slivered or sliced almonds or hard-boiled eggs for protein. I usually add feta cheese. I like raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I love Jacque’s Greek Orzo salad. It’s a staple salad for me.

    I love potato salad. My family history tells me that my paternal ancestors came from Wirsitz Prussia (spelling?), now Poland. My favorite potato salad includes mustard and dill weed in the mayonnaise dressing. I like to add crunchy veggies to mine, like green onions, red peppers, celery, cucumbers, and sometimes chopped up pickle. It’s a favorite. The problem is one serving is usually not enough and I eat it until either I’m sick or it’s gone. So I don’t make it very often.

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  11. We like the German version of potato salad. But I don’t like large chunks of potato in it. We’ve been buying “Mrs Gerry’s” from Hyvee – in fact I have a small container in my office fridge and I’m having some for lunch right now. We like the macaroni salads and pea salad too. Boy, they’re expensive though.

    I had a red potato salad at a restaurant once and it was really good. Haven’t found it again since.

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  12. I’m glad I have a few Norwegian recipes passed down from my grandma, and if I immigrated elsewhere, those would come with me
    – Fish (not the lutefisk, I’m afraid) and Lefse
    – Kumla (potato dumpling in ham broth)
    – Kringla (cookie)

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  13. Potato salad recipes that you find in the deli section of grocery stores usually are not very great. One exception, though, is the devilled egg potato salad from Oxendale’s. It’s practically perfect.

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  14. One of my favorite summer salads is a tomato stuffed with cottage cheese. A locally grown tomato, not the usual grocery store tomato. And the best cottage cheese is Old Home.

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