How to Make Potato Salad and Influence People…

I had volunteered to help out at the Lancaster Art & Craft show at Long’s Park last Sunday afternoon. My friend, Sara, and I shared a shift serving beer and wine. It was a lot of fun and I learned how to properly pull a draft from a keg. That’s right; 34 years old and I’d never done it – good conservative Christian upbringing and all.

Since we had admission to the show as a result of our volunteer work, we decided to make a day of it. Her mother-in-law, future sis-in-law, and future housemate joined us to wander around post-shift. There were a lot of great artists and crafters there and we saw some absolutely beautiful and amazing work. We also saw a lot of “art” that made us scratch our heads and consider putting up our kids’ work next year.

We discovered as we walked and talked our way through the show, that through a series of unfortunate events and miscommunication, the potato salad for the evening campfire-cookout had not been made. What a catastrophe! A flurry of texts between Sara’s husband, Keith, and the five of us women commenced as he was asked to boil potatoes so they would be ready for us to turn into salad when we returned.

Now, I will go on record as saying that Keith is an incredible cook. I have not had a bad meal at their house. But the boy apparently cannot boil potatoes. (In his defense, however, I suspect his “lack of knowledge” had more to do with the fact that he was attempting to install windows at the same time.)

He asked us for reminders to check on them from time to time. We did. Several times. An hour later, he put the potatoes on the stove. Soon after that, my husband arrived at their place (we were still at the art show) where the job of making potato salad was hoist upon him… along with wrangling four kids at the same time, so that Keith, his brother, and his father could finish the windows. Jeff added water to the potatoes so they could finish cooking.

There was much debate on whether the potatoes should be peeled and it turns out that my husband, also an incredibly amazing cook by the way, had never made potato salad either. There were more texts among Jeff and the women, all of us telling him different things to put into it.

Finally, I sent a text to him: “Recipe for potato salad: mayo, celery, vinegar… call my mom.” (My favorite recipes end with “call my mom.”)  He called my mom, who referred him to my dad, who didn’t have a recipe in front of him either because they were camping. So…

Jeff stopped asking and just started making. Turns out, he makes a GREAT potato salad! I’d tell you how he did it, but even he doesn’t remember. He just dumped stuff in until it looked and tasted right. He even put dill in it. Incredible. Everyone loved it. Well, Keith wasn’t impressed, but he then confessed he didn’t like cold potatoes. His opinion doesn’t count.

The next day, we had a cookout at my parents’ place. We walked in the door with a birthday cake for my mom. First words out of her mouth? “I thought you were bringing potato salad.”


Jeff's Amazing Potato Salad
Against all odds... potato salad


More Fall Feasting

Today, we are experimenting. We started with a recipe I found online for Easy, Cheesy Pumpkin Lasagna, added chicken & apple sausage to the pumpkin mixture, and used pumpkin spice noodles that we had purchased a while ago and didn’t know how to use. It’s in the oven at the moment and we’ll let you know how it turns out.

Jeff’s also got a pot of spiced cider in the crock pot:
~1 gallon apple cider
~cranberry juice to taste (usually 1-3 cups)
~two thick slices each of lemon and orange with rind
~four cinnamon sticks
~16 cloves & 16 allspice (he uses a tea ball for easy extraction)

The weather may have decided to turn up the heat, but we’re fighting back. FALL is HERE!

Fall Feasts

I know I haven’t updated here in… well… ages. I’ve been focused on a lot of other things. The family is doing well for the most part but it’s been a taxing year for us. Promise to try to get pics of the kids up here soon, but with Facebook (and how much easier it normally is to post photos there) I don’t even think about posting here.

Tonight, however, I’m posting here because I’ve had several requests for the recipe for “my” Gingersnap Pot Roast (and frankly, Facebook is incredibly temperamental today and I don’t have the patience to deal with it). Technically, this recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens, but I’ve adapted it enough that I can call it mine. 🙂

Gingersnap Pot Roast
(A.K.A. Sauerbraten Made Easy)

Layer in crock pot:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes or yams (peeled and cut)
  • one bag of “baby” carrots prepared
  • 4 small or medium apples, cut into wedges
  • 2-3 lb chuck roast

Mix together to make gravy and pour over roast:

  • 1 cup water
  • 8 gingersnaps crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 5-6 hours.

Enjoy. 🙂