Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The history of potato salad


I didn't have a photo of potato salad.


This is a conversation we had while out enjoying some Independence Day post-dinner ice cream.  Today was a blazing hot July 4th, so some cold ice cream seemed like a good way to end the day.

Earlier in the day, my husband jokingly took me to task for not providing potato salad as part of our Independence Day meal.  (He was only half joking.)  He told Younger Daughter that potato salad is traditional for 4th of July.

We now open our scene at the ice cream place, where we were seated outside, in the hot shade, enjoying permutations of cold chocolate.

Husband: I wonder why it isn’t more crowded here.

Me: It’s because it’s too blazing hot, there’s no potato salad, and everyone is going downtown to see fireworks.

Younger Daughter:  But why is potato salad traditional on the 4th of July?

Husband: The Pilgrims ate potato salad on the 4th of July, to celebrate their independence from Britain.

YD:  Dad.  The Pilgrims.  That was before independence.  And we never have potato salad on 4th of July!

Me (apologetically): I’m sorry you had to grow up in a household where your mother hated mayonnaise and so you never had potato salad…. That’s why Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday.   It’s not blazing hot, potato salad isn’t a traditional food, and we don’t have to go downtown to see fireworks.

Husband:   The Pilgrims also ate potato salad to celebrate Colonel Sanders’ victory over the British 12th Infantry.

YD (raising her voice with dismay):  What significance does potato salad have?!  It has no significance whatsoever!   It’s the most insignificant piece of calorie that was ever invented!

Me: It’s very significant.  Because it celebrates immigrants.  When the Irish potato famine happened, people from Ireland came to this country in droves, and made potato salad.  Because they had potatoes here.

YD:  But, but, that was after independence.

Husband:   When the Jews left Ireland, they were told to take only their Torah and their potato salad.  There was no time to make potato latkes…. They crossed the Begorrah River…

(There is the sound of an explosion in the distance.)

Me:  There you go.  There’s somebody either backfiring their car, or they ate a lot of beans, or they are exploding fireworks.

YD: Or they are shooting a gun.

Me: Baked beans are also traditional on 4th of July.

YD: That makes some semblance of sense.  Baked beans are brown.  Like, they are from the earth.

Me (banging the picnic table for emphasis): No!  They’re from Boston! The cradle of democracy!  That’s why baked beans are for 4th of July.

YD: I thought that on 4th of July you just eat a whole bunch of brown things.  Like hamburgers are brown, baked beans are brown, hot dogs are brown.

Husband:  It’s a brown food holiday?

YD: Yeah…. There’s no other connection, is there?  I mean, hot dogs are from Germany, so they’re not American.  Hamburgers are from Hamburg, so they’re not American.

Me: Hotdogs and hamburgers are quintessentially American.

YD:  But  - frankfurters -

At this point the Common Household Husband discovered that his chocolate ice cream cone had dripped all over his pants, and we had to go home. 

End of history lesson.



Yours truly, earlier today





2 comments:

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

This whole post made me giggle.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Now that you mention it, Thanksgiving food is all brown, too, except for the cranberries...you people might be on to something here...