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Ancestral Cooking Forum

Potato Salad
In Response To: Holiday Meal Preparations ()

Who would have thought that this member of the Nightshade family would become such a staple in the Black kitchen?

Whether fried, scalloped, boiled, baked, served au gratin, or made into a salad, the potato is as reliable as they come. Perhaps it is because so many of our ancestors were agrarian. Another reason for the popularity of the potato may be its economical cost. When you get right down to it, I think it comes down to both the versatility in use and to the wonderful flavor of the potato.

One of the most popular dishes in African American culture is undeniably Potato Salad. Potato Salad is one of those dishes that improves with each generation, as we lovingly absorb what was shared by our grandmothers and mothers, and then make our own alterations and improvements to it. What is certain in my family, and no doubt many others, is the fact that Potato Salad was a requisite dish for every holiday meal.

I'd like to share the latest incarnation of my potato salad, and I hope you will post your own in response. Surely, there are as many different versions as there are people.

Mine has the shameful name of "Make You Wanna Slap Your Mama" Potato Salad, as that is what someone attributed to it, at a function I took it to. (For the record, I never have.) In this recipe I took everything my mother taught me about potato salad and enhanced it. It's been very successful at many gatherings I've taken it to.

You will note that I do not use mustard in my potato salad. That's one of the things that makes it unique. Although it tastes pretty good served immediately after preparation, the optimal time to serve it would be the next day. Remove from the refrigerator and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Please also keep in mind that all the measurements are approximations. I have never measured anything for potato salad. It is usually done "to taste." Please adapt it to suit you and yours. Also, there is absolutely nothing in this recipe that is cholesterol-conscious or fat-free, although there is lots and lots of fiber. This may not be that good for you, but it is CERTAINLY good to you!!! Feel free to make calorie-, carb-, or fat-replacement choices to suit your family.


8 lbs. of potatoes (peeled, cubed, washed, and drained)
1 whole celery stalk (washed, slivered, and minced)
1 medium to large red onion (peeled and minced)
1 half carrot stalk (rinsed, scraped, quartered, and thinly sliced)
(or substitute 8 or 9 baby carrots sliced lengthwise & chopped)
1/3 small green bell pepper (rinsed, slivered, and then minced)
Seven boiled eggs (peeled, rinsed, chilled, and chopped finely)
About 7 sliced gherkins (sweet pickles sliced to 1/4" chunks)
About two heaping tablespoons dill pickle relish
About 1 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
About 3/4 cup Hellman's Real Mayonnaise
About 3/4 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing
About 1/2 cup Good Seasons, Viva, or Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing
Freshly ground pepper
Morton's Nature's Seasons (to taste)
Garlic Powder
Celery Seed (1/2 tbls.)

Boil potato cubes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and refrigerate until chilled. Pour all minced vegetables into non-metallic mixing container.

Add boiled egg and drained, chilled potatoes. Mix all the liquid ingredients in a bowl, and then pour over the vegetables. Season with Nature's Seasons, pepper, and garlic powder.

Mix well with plastic or wooden utensils. With a separate fork, taste. Adjust any needed seasonings or salad dressings. Chill overnight (remembering that flavors will intensify by 25-33%, in my estimation).

Stir once before serving. Place in serving dish.

Number Of Servings: Approx. 24

Preparation Time: 1 1/2 - 2 hours; prepare the night before to allow time for chilling.

I hope you like it!

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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