If you have a cherished family recipe, than you’ll identify with the family discussion around Oma’s potato salad. Scroll to the bottom to read the entertaining comments from a lengthy family WhatsApp chat regarding the ingredients to our mother’s loved potato salad.
This makes enough for 6 servings
¼ cup Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 “Messerspitz” (tip of the knife) plain mustard
Milk or cream, about 3 Tbsp enough to create a pourable consistency
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
6 small Yukon Gold or 12 baby potatoes (I count on one smallish potato and 1 egg per person)
8 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled (1 for garnish and 1 extra in case the garnish falls apart)
Finely chopped green onion, both white and green parts (optional, see the following family story about those who got their own onion-free version)
Steam or boil whole potatoes. I prefer to steam them in a double boiler as it helps to retain their shape. Cool potatoes, and gently remove as much peel as possible. Chop into ¾-inch-ish pieces. (Another contentious point, how big should the potato cubes be?)
Reserve 2 eggs for garnish. Peel the remaining 6 cooled, hard-boiled eggs and chop.
Add potatoes, eggs and white part of the green onion to a bowl, add dressing and gently stir until evenly combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if more is needed.
Cut peeled, reserved egg into equal pieces and place into a flower shape on top of the salad. Add a cherry tomato for the center. Dust with paprika.
Refrigerate and serve.
My mom’s potato salad is a must for our website as it’s a much-loved family recipe. It was the last dish Oma still prepared for our large family gatherings before she gave up cooking. Naively, I invited my five older ziblinks (Mom’s word for siblings) on our WhatsApp chat to share their memories of Mom’s dressing. Many increasingly passionate comments later, we agreed to disagree on the exact recipe. However, we did agree on two vital points.
One, that Mom pampered the onion-haters by preparing an extra bowl of onion-free salad. Two, that our usually thrifty Mother never skimped on the dressing, and her potato salad was always deliciously creamy. But that’s where our shared memories ended, as we couldn’t even agree on whether she used Miracle Whip or mayonnaise. However, I had evidence she used both! As a young bride, I recorded the recipe exactly as she told it to me. And here it is: my version of Oma’s potato salad just for you.
See comments below for my ziblink’s variations on Mom’s recipe. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of their delicious renditions, and I hope our conversation entertains you!
Pictured above is my moms Forget Me Not china, and the fork is one of a set of two my parents received as a wedding gift in post-war Germany in 1946. They received two forks and a couple dishes as gifts…that’s it!
Oldest sister-in-law (she’s the cook in her family)
“Mine is just about the same as Brother #2 except for the Thousand Island dressing. I will try that, I use Miracle Whip. Also, just a bit of finely grated onion in the dressing along with the green onion. Oh yes, celery salt and then cut back on kosher or regular salt. Now all I want to do is make potato salad!”
Brother #2 (he left the chat about halfway through, declaring, “Who knew potato salad was so complicated?”)
Pickle juice, mayonnaise, a little bit of cream
Thousand Island dressing
Couple of spoonsful of all the other ingredients
Lots of onions
Skittle of dill on top (autocorrected from sprinkle to skittle but we decided we liked that!)
Sometimes a few radishes and celery, small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Sour Cream, but I substitute plain yogurt for ½ sour cream
Splash of milk to thin
Re the garnish, she advised that “Mom had only used 5 petals for the flower and very carefully extracted the yolk; using that for the centre. That was pre cherry tomato.”
Tragically we lost him in a car accident many years ago, but he was a free spirit and would never have followed a recipe.
Sister #3 The self-described non-cook, but loves to write.
“I once asked mom what she put in and emulated it ever after. I would say you cannot over-emphasize the moistness of mom’s potato salad when, by comparison, others’ was dry. I think it was the combination of 100% whipping cream, mayonnaise (she never bought miracle whip) and sour cream. Onion salt, chives, and grated onion, though she left out the onions and chives in a small bowlful for Brother #4 and me. I can’t recall a time she didn’t add paprika, and how fancy, I thought.”
He doesn’t cook and was adamant that we never had celery in our house. His husband makes a killer potato salad but has not divulged his secret recipe to the family.