Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sally Bell's Potato Salad for Memorial Day Picnics

LUCY BURDETTE:  Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died serving our country in times of war. Here's one of our favorite posts, in which the Reds talk about how war touched each of us personally.

But it's also become the weekend to celebrate the beginning of summer--and we do that so often by eating! When John and I drive to Florida in the fall, and back north in the spring, we have developed one must-stop lunch place. Sally Bell’s Kitchen is in downtown Richmond and when you walk in, you feel like you’ve fallen back to
an earlier time, with grandmothers in aprons and hairnets making you a Southern lunch. You choose your preferred sandwich and cupcake (strawberry in this case, though the caramel icing is killer,) and then potato salad, a deviled egg, and a Parmesan wafer are added. And the packaging is adorable—each lunch comes in a little white cardboard box, tied up with string.

We love everything about the lunch, but especially the potato salad. This is what I'll serve at a Memorial Day picnic. It's a little sweet, and lower-sodium, and we like it a lot.

Servings: 6-8

    2 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, washed, with bad spots cut out (about 7-8)
    1  teaspoon BENTON’S TABLE TASTY (or 1/2 tsp salt if you don’t need low sodium)
    1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Woodstock organic)
    3 tablespoons Rick’s pickle relish with juice (or other sweet, high-quality)
    1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or Kozlik's Amazing Maple)
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
    5 large hard-boiled eggs, just the yolks folks
    2 tablespoons chopped red onion
    2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

    Cut the potatoes into quarters, cover with water and simmer until tender when pierced with a knife, 20–30 minutes. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl and let cool slightly.

    Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, pickle relish, Dijon mustard, sugar, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. Table Tasty in a small bowl for dressing.  Add onion and parsley.

Using a large wooden spoon or potato masher, coarsely smash potatoes.
    Add egg yolks to potatoes and coarsely smash them together. Then gently mix in the dressing. Cover and chill.

 Dust the top of the bowl with paprika.


What will you remember over this Memorial Day weekend? And what will you be eating?


  1. We, too, will remember those who served on Memorial Day. When the girls were young, we would always spend the Saturday before Memorial Day putting flags up in the cemetery . . . .

    I love potato salad and your recipe sounds wonderful. I always put hard-boiled eggs and pickle relish in my salad, so I'm looking forward to trying this salad to go with our hamburgers . . . .

  2. Our family tree goes back before the founding of this country and ancestors served in every conflict through the Korean War--and younger relatives in every conflict since. So,today I will carry them all in my heart, but especially my dad, whose commanding officer called him 'a soldier's soldier.'

    Smashed potato salad? This is close to my favorite potato salad recipe--but never tried smashing the potatoes/eggs--will have to give it a try! May all the Reds' family have a wonderful day!

  3. I made a tub of potato salad yesterday. I think every cook has her own version. Mine includes dill pickle, not sweet, whole boiled eggs, not just yolks, diced celery for the crunch, and the secret ingredient. Said ingredient is half a package of dry ranch dressing mix. Then mayo and mustard and red onion. Sliced and diced and all tossed together. Manna of the gods.

    This is my last day with a barely functioning kitchen for a week. My contractor will pull out what is left tomorrow and Tuesday, and the floor guys come in Wednesday to do their trick. Then it is new cabinets and appliances and granite.

    I'll need all that potato salad to fortify myself.

  4. Joan, that's a wonderful tradition that I bet your girls will always remember!

    FChurch, we don't go back as far as your family, but many of the men in my family and my husband's family served. Luckily they all came back intact. John tried his uniform on yesterday--he's going to march in the parade tomorrow for the first time. He looked very handsome, though the pants were the tiniest bit snug and the cap is a little mildewed:).

    Ann, good luck with the renovation--what fun to have a new kitchen though!

  5. This looks delicious! And Sally Bell's in Richmond - sounds worth a trip.

    That recipe looks wonderful.

    I've got my own homemade potato salad in the fridge right now -- it's a mustard vinaigrette on new potatoes (no mayo), dill, and lots of chopped celery and vidalia onion. I serve it warm the first time, leftovers cold.

  6. Trying the potato salad recipe, Lucy. It sounds spectacular and I just hard boiled a carton of eggs for deviled eggs. Going to reserve some for the potato salad now. Very timely. Joan, what a great tradition. FChurch, that's quite a history. I am intrigued. Lucy, I love that John is marching. There are so few Memorial Day parades left, and they were a huge part of my childhood memories and history. My own husband is a former Marine (I know, there are no former Marines, but maybe no longer serving Marine works better?) and for the past two years, he has been involved in training Marine recruits so we will be thinking of them and our family members who came home from the Wars and those who did not. We always have a cookout and plan for one this year as well.

  7. Hallie, your recipe sounds wonderful! And Sally Bell's--if you're driving by anyway, don't miss...

    Kait, let us know how you like it! My brother is a retired Marine too.

    I'm hoping the parade doesn't get washed out! I know it will be an emotional experience for John--me too!

  8. Memories of Memorial Day include the debate: is it Decoration Day or Memorial Day? I don't remember all the nuances. My family tradition, until a year or two after my father died, was the placing of geraniums (traditional red) on the graves of all grandparents, great grandparents, a few stray great and greatgrand aunts (a long history of maiden aunts in Daddy's family), and, if any plants were left over on graves that would not otherwise be decorated. We honor all veterans -- the living and the dead -- on Armistice -- later Veteran's -- Day on November 11.

    Absolutely no memories of potato salad! Just one of those foods I can skip with ease.

  9. Thanks for your memorial day memories Elisabeth! I think it's lovely that your family shared the plants with other gravesites that would have been left on adorned. And OK on the potato salad – different strokes.

  10. Lucy, Sally Bell's sounds terrific. I'm going to try the potato salad tomorrow, but will probably sub dill relish for the sweet, as that's the preference in our house. Will let you know how it turns out!

  11. I love potato salad, but my son dislikes anything with mayonnaise, so we won't have any tomorrow. But later...

    Memorial Day was a town parade with scouts, bands, etc. My vivid memory is band members, in their wool uniforms, passing out one by one in the heat!

  12. Memorial Day when I was growing up was always a time of taking flowers to the cemetery. My mother would gather flowers from her garden and sometimes had fill-ins from the florists. My father was very involved, too, as he and my mother separated the flowers before going to the cemetery into different bunches for the relatives. I would accompany them to the cemetery, and that must be when my interest in cemeteries started. I enjoyed my mother telling me about her parents while placing the flowers on the graves and then my father's parents. These parents/grandparents were dead before I was born, so it was the only connection I ever had to them, in a sense. There was my sister's, Rebecca's, grave that was only a small square we had to look for. She died as a baby, and even as a child, I realized how important this one was to my mother. Then, there were aunts and uncles and cousins we placed flowers on, too. Sometimes it was coordinated to be there at the same time as other family members (living) to do the flowers. It was such an important yearly ritual for our family, and I have to say that I miss it. I live too far away to ride out to the cemetery where my family is, and I'm realizing as I type this message that I am long overdue a visit.

    This weekend is, of course, a time of remembrance for those brave men and women who have served our country and passed on, a vow never to forget them, which must be kept. My father was too young for WWI and too old for WWII, so I didn't grow up with a sense of military service, but my husband's family did. His father and uncles were in WWII, his father in the Pacific and his favorite uncle on the Bataan Death March and in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Both survived. My husband was in the Army and spent six months in Afghanistan.

    Lucy, the potato salad sounds so delicious. I had a co-worker bring potato salad to work many years ago that was my favorite ever. I failed to get the recipe from her and have been searching for years for a replica dish. Yours sounds like it might be a contender, as Ann's.

  13. I took a minute to dip into the history of the holiday, and it apparently springs out of folk traditions much older than the Civil War, although it first became a national day of remembrance to honor veterans who had died in service in 1868. I, too, grew up in a family that still called it Decoration Day, and used the occasion to travel down to the Ozark Mountains to decorate graves in the old family cemeteries, whether the deceased was a veteran or not. The family counts veterans of the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam in our ranks. When I moved from Missouri to Texas, I met a lot of folks who organized annual "cemetery working" days, where a whole community would gather to clean up small, private cemeteries, cut back brush, and decorate graves, then have a giant potluck picnic "on the grounds." Some of those cemeteries were bare earth cemeteries, where the grass was cleaned from the graves down to the dirt. Not sure the origin of that tradition, but it certainly holds on here in rural Texas. So let's all crank up a recording of the Blind Lemon Jefferson song, "See That My Grave is Kept Clean," and enjoy the potato salad of your choice. I'm going to see if I can weasel a bite from Debs, in exchange for . . . mmmm, maybe some lemon pound cake?