Saturday, July 11, 2009

Picnic Season

I always say I love cooking and entertaining even though I don't do it that often. I have over time become a bit of a cookbook addict. No, I don't usually go to that section if I'm at a book store, but I have made several purchases from a discount book seller who comes to my school. I've been trying to break this habit because I have a kitchen cabinet full of them. I also buy them when I travel.

Most of my favorite recipes come from friends, and I try to keep those in a special place. The recipes handed around are usually the best. There are, however, a couple of recipes that I have discovered in old cook books (now falling apart or marked with stains and spills from lots of use) that I hold on to.

Since I have company and more family is coming over for a cookout, I decided to pull out one of my favorites. We have an acquaintance who was once visiting when I served this recipe, and he complimented me on it; I took that seriously since he owned a couple of grocery stores in another town; not a grocery store chain like Marsh, Kroger, or Walmart, but a family owned business, so his stores had these wonderful international areas and amazing delis and bakeries. If he liked it, I thought it had to be a good one.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad
1 c. mayonnaise (not salad dressing like Miracle Whip)
1 T cider vinegar
1.5 t. salt
2 t. prepared mustard (if you like mustard potato salad, put in more of this and less mayo)
.5 t. celery seed
dash pepper
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
4 c. diced cooked potatoes
1.5 c. sliced celery
.5 c sliced green onions
.25 c. sliced radishes
2 T chopped parsley

Early in the day: In a large bowl, stir mayo with next 5 ingredients until mixed; add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

It's pretty simple. The thing to watch is the potatoes. I don't like mine overcooked or they turn into mashed potatoes. If you like yours that way, of course, by all means cook them longer. I peel and cube the potatoes, get the water boiling, and pour them in. I just remove them and rinse them under cold water so they won't keep cooking. I like the potatoes to stay a bit firm.

It serves six, but I usually double it for a crowd, as there will be today. This recipe comes from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, Copyright 1973. Maybe this same cookbook is reprinted and updated, but I haven't checked to see. Mine looks very used and the pages have come apart from the binding. I have to keep it together with rubber bands.

Today I'm adding to that a linguine vegetable salad, brats and burgers, and possibly a rhubarb/strawberry pie. Oh, and our guests will bring things to pitch in, so no telling what we'll end up with. Isn't it great the way food reminds us of places, people, and our childhood? The only thing I won't have that I miss from my childhood is homemade ice cream.

Now I'm just hoping it won't rain, but if it does, the guys will just grill in ponchos.

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