Picnic Potato Salad

Favorite family memories flood back when I think of picnics. Not to mention photos of my ancestors camping and picnicking.

Mother (Harriette Kaser) never tied of telling about how on one of their expeditions to a summer cabin with friends, she wanted to bake a pie, but had no rolling pin. She used a beer bottle.

And then there was the time that she carefully packed everything for a cookout, including cans of baked beans and applesauce, but forgot the can opener.  (I recently saw a solution for that dilemma and am a little surprised my dad didn’t think of it.)

Family picnic

Kasers,Prices,Badertschers Picnic 1970s

Often when we lived in HIliard, mother would throw together a picnic and we would drive to a park along the Olentangy River in Columbus Ohio and my dad would meet us there after work. The stand-bys were Tuna salad sandwiches (or bread, mayo and a can of tuna), deviled eggs (or plain hard boiled if she was in a hurry), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks, and some cookies. One picnic food that was rarely eaten any other time was a little can of Vienna sausages. Another was potato sticks (they came in a can like Pringles now come in). We also might have those little glass jars (reusable as juice glasses) with pimento cream cheese to spread on bread.

Earlier family get togethers, particularly those at a cabin on one of the small lakes in Ohio would get a little more complicated. Cold roasted chicken was a must, potato salad, perhaps a lime jello salad with cabbage and carrots, someone would bring a frosted cake in a cake carrier, and of course there would be watermelon for desert. A big jug of lemonade and another of water to quench our thirst would round out the meal.

Although on the vacation shown in the slide show below–my parents and two couples that were their friends vacationing at Lake Hope State Park in Oho in 1953–the drinks were stronger than lemonade.

Mother said that Aunt Sarah made the best potato salad, but frankly, I think mine would give hers a good contest.  One key is the kind of potatoes you use. Baking potatoes are too mealy. You need new red potatoes, or my current favorite, gold.  The marinade is the real secret.  Cool the potatoes just enough to handle, then while they are still a little warm, pour over the marinade described here or any Italian salad dressing and let it soak in its flavor.

Here’s my recipe for my favorite potato salad. This recipe is very general, and takes lots of adjusting for your personal tastes.  I’m frankly not all that sure of the measurements, because I mix and taste constantly when I’m making this potato salad.  Oh, and for heaven’s sake don’t leave it sitting out in the heat! Keep it cool at the picnic.

 

Picnic Potato Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 potatoes, red or gold (Depending on number of people to serve and size of potatoes)
  • 1/2-1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red or green sweet peppers
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • sprinkle paprika
  • dash celery seed (optional)

marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

dressing

  • 1-2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoon prepared mustard

Directions

1. Cook potatoes until you can put a fork into them, but they are not falling apart
2. Potato Salad potatoes cooling
Take potatoes off the heat and plunge in ice water
3. potato salad chopped
Dice potatoes. Leave skin on, or remove loose pieces, or peel as you wish.
4. potato saladpotato salad
Mix marinade ingredients, and pour over diced potatoes in large bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
5. Mix mayonaise and seasonings, except paprika. Stir in relish.
6. Gently mix other vegetables into potatoes. Then pour dressing over and mix just until all potatoes are coated.
7. Chop one or two hard boiled eggs and stir in gently, or slice for garnish on top.
8. Spoon potato salad into serving dish and sprinkle with paprika

What is your go-to picnic food?

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6 thoughts on “Picnic Potato Salad

  1. Living Large

    My memories of summer family gatherings always include potato salad as well. I can remember one lively discussion once between my grown sisters and mother over yellow vs. white potato salad and which is better. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    Reply
  2. Kris

    Oh, celery in potato salad? Never! 😉 more words, more words, more words, more words….. (error message telling me to go back and add more words, comment too short)

    Reply
    1. Jane Boursaw

      Too funny, Kris. Yeah, Vera, maybe we only have a smartly short and wonderfully memorable few words to say on the topic! We’ll see if this gets through the word-o-meter. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Jane Boursaw

    Your 1970s picnic shot could easily be my family. In fact, that looks just like my Mammy in there! (My mom’s southern mom.)

    We were big on KFC for those 1970s gatherings. 🙂

    Reply

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