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Let’s Cook: And the Leading Role Goes To…Cooked Salad Dressings

By Staff | Jan 29, 2016

Just admit it-you wrapped yourself in a soft hyacinth blue wool shawl, not really wanting to go to the Christmas office party. Then you glanced at yourself in the hallway mirror and realized your instant drama and panache. Yes, a great percentage of the flair comes from the shawl, but let us not forget those adorning sparkling snowflakes that look like they just hopped down from a winter’s eve window box bursting with pines. Go ahead-twirl around one more time. It is perfect on you. As you spin, even the sequined paisleys display their tones of grape and orchid. What is there not to love about that flirty fringe!

You arrive at the party and just about have to take a bow for all the compliments that you are receiving. To look at you now, one would never realize that just two hours ago you had thought about ditching the party, ordering a pizza and slapping in the DVD of “Christmas in Connecticut.” After all, Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) food writer makes gentle ease of enjoying parties and has great stance on the food served-even though she cannot cook. You giggle every time Chef Felix Bassenak (S. Z. Sakall) comes to her rescue with delicious recipes and tips for making everything taste wonderful.

Now the time has come for you to enjoy the salad bar, and the potato salad does look fine! As you tilt you ankle while dishing (now there is a Barbara Stanwyck move) and upon returning to your chair, you need Barbara to call for Felix to fix the sour taste, cook the potatoes more, and reduce the overacting mustard! Nothing strikes horror like a bowl of deadpan potato salad! Just when you think you are in for a tasty delight, the potato salad comes forth like a rattlesnake and bites-moving you to blacklist it. That is your cue to set down that fork and act! Ask yourself, “Why is there so much bad potato salad in this world?

As my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Vonderheide, used to say “Knowledge won’t find us, we must find it.” So take a moment and recall the last time you had really good potato salad, the kind makes you create a recipe card so that you can pass it on to the next generation. The kind that deserves to have a close up in the family album next to Grandma walking on stilts.

For several years now, I have taken Mrs. Vonderheide’s advice and have slipped behind the kitchen scene to discover better tasting potato salad recipes. This is how I came to hold in high regard Char Yoder’s potato salad recipe which features shredded potatoes and evaporated milk and was printed in this column several years ago. Now there is fraction of folks who still like cubed potato salad with no evaporated milk, so onward with curiosity and taste buds.

I have learned from my little scenario that cooked salad dressing is the answer for very tasty and pleasing potato salad. I know there will be some that disagree, and we must realize that is what happens when we are dealing with the mundane and madness of potato salad in our world.

One of the great delights in this world is to visit, and while shopping at the Rugby Greenhouse, Barb Lee and I strolled on to the avenue of visiting about cooked dressings. Thank goodness we had this discussion over a bouquet of pink carnations. Had we been on red carpet that would have been quite a scene! She told me in great detail about her cooked salad dressing which was the trademark of her mother-in-law, Mrs. Almon Lee, of Westhope. Alma was generous to share the recipe with Barb, and it is favorite in the Lee home. It is referred to as, “the more dressing” because everyone always wants more.

We may never get the chance to be a Hollywood movie star like Barbara Stanwyck, but there is no reason that we are not enjoying delicious potato salad. We won’t need a recipe from Felix-thanks to Lee family recipe. As they say in Hollywood, this one is a wrap!

We have to credit Alma for sharing her amazing dressing. It is one of fine character and when combined with potatoes, eggs, and dash of onion, it becomes a blockbuster!

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