Mom's Old Fashioned Potato Salad

"It is better to be looked over than overlooked." Mae West

Easily overlooked, a good potato salad is the perfect foil for barbecue. And yup. This is the stuff. Just like Mom made it. And she won't like me telling you this, it's not hard. The secret is that the dressing is a blend of mayo and sour cream. It is still be a good idea for you to read my article on the Science of Potatoes first.

Since I first published this I was surprised to learn that there is a vocal minority of you who hate pickles in your potato salad and you claim no self-respecting Mom would ever commit such a crime. Among you are my sous chef and my wife. Well, in the immortal words of Steve Martin "Excuuuuuuuse me!" I like it that way. If you don't, don't bypass this recipe. Just omit the offending green things. Sheesh.

And the movie below? Those are the Ross sisters of Texas, big hits in the 1940s, from the 1944 movie "Broadway Rhythm". Things start getting strange at about 2:40...


Makes. 8

Takes. 30 minutes


1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 scallions, chopped into pea-size chunks

1 small red bell pepper, chopped into pea-size chunks

1 stalk celery, chopped into pea-size chunks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pounds waxy potatoes

1 egg

Black pepper to taste

Note. If you want to turn Mom's Potato Salad into Dad's Potato Salad, dice a jalapeño and throw it in. Better still, get 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chop it finely, and mix it with the mayo. This will give the whole dish a slightly orange color and a rich, earthy, smoky heat.

Low fat version. Substitute more sour cream for the mayo.


1) Mix all the ingredients except the egg, potato, and salt in a large bowl.

2) Scrub the potatoes thoroughly. If the skin comes clean, you can leave it on. If not, get rid of it. Now cut them into 1/2" cubes. Put them into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the egg. Bring to a boil and add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer. After about 15 minutes remove the egg and run cool water over it for at least a minute. Crack, peel, chop, and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.

2) When the potatoes have cooled, add them to the bowl and coat with the dressing. Pepper and more salt to taste. Chill.

Moms Potato Salad

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