Post to the Host

Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

Send GK Your Question »

Ambrosial Heights

February 1, 2008 | 5 Comments

Hi,
I grew up in St. Paul and live out in Portland and am wondering, WHY do people bother making potato salad with the mayo and all that when the German potato salad is clearly superior (and has bacon!!!)?

your avid listener,
Lynn

German potato salad is an interesting novelty, served warm, somewhat sour, a good winter dish, but in the summer you want the real thing, with mayo, chopped egg, some mustard, dill, and chopped scallions. It's worth all the work that goes into it and it elevates the humble potato to ambrosial heights and it is a staple of the potluck family picnic. But you have to make it at home, yourself, and not try to foist off on us a tub of commercial glop from a convenience store. We might be too polite to point out the problem but we would remember it for a long time.


5 Comments


no no no, there isn't supposed to be ANY bacon in German potato salad! I am German, I should know :-)
Actually, I am from the deep south of Germany, Swabia, and OUR Swabian Potato Salad is very clearly the best. It contains no or only traces of mayo, chopped onions, and sometimes cucumbers sliced thinly or pickles (saure gurken), sliced thinly, and is made with a dressing of boullion and a little oil. Served warm. Delicious. My grandma makes the best!
Definitely no bacon whatsoever. The classic would be to serve sausages with the salad, "saitenwurstle", which look like thin hot dogs and taste completely different.
We eat it on Christmas Eve. And on any other occasion someone can be bothered to make it (because you would never ever buy it ready-made), even in the summer :-))
Be sure to make enough to have a whole pot full leftovers, it can be eaten very well directly from the fridge at night...


Dear Garrison,

Here we are stranded by avalanches in Montana - we'd wished and planned to be at the Feb. 2 Show in St.Paul.

However, it wasn't to be since the Empire Builder was annulled at Whitefish.
Since we were homebound, we asked our 90+ year old parents to tune in (incredibly, they are not radio people!) as originally, if we were there in person, we'd planned to send a message.

So, we tuned in, and couldn't believe the guest musical artist of choice. Upon hearing the voice of Nanci, we were sorry we encouraged our parents to listen, her voice was on tune - but edgy.

We were a little reluctant to vent on the topic of musical talent, as usually PHC is excellent musically. But this was so bad we had to express ourselves.

Just so you know, we are long-time listeners (20 years +) and we have rescheduled our trip to attend the show. We've re-ticketed for the March 8 show, and very much look forward to attending.

Best Regards,
Donna & Darrell Hirte


Now I've lived in Germany for almost 20 years, and I find it amusing that what we Americans call "German" potato salad is a regional specialty of Bavaria, whereas the rest of Germany consumes "real" potato salad with mayo, etc. (though you can skip the dill, as far as I'm concerned).


Just serve German potato salad cold in the spring and summer, warm in the fall and winter. Then it's a salad for all seasons. As Lynn says, it's clearly superior (and has bacon).


And the REAL potato salad, the one with mayo is even better if you marinate the potatoes and scallions for a while in Italian dressing (or at least oil and vinegar and salt and pepper and dill) before adding the egg and mayo just at serving.

I learned this growing up in the humidity of Illinois summers in the 50's, and now happily serve it up to my friends and family in Long Beach, California, on Memorial Day, the Fourth, Labor Day etc. Despite their being mostly Southern Californians--some even from birth, they are quite appreciative of it.

Previous Post:
« Prose in Shows

Next Post:
The Winter is Long »

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive


American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy