Photo: Ok, so… I have a confession… This right here is the first bowl of potato salad I’ve ever made.
Ok, ok, but you’ve gotta hear me out! I know I was born below the Mason-Dixon. I know I am a Black woman born below the Mason-Dixon… there is no excuse at all for being a grown-ass woman and have never physically made a bowl of potato salad before! It’s a damn shame, is what it is. I know it. And what’s worse: I’m a real snot about other people’s potato salad. I’m the first to politely decline when it’s on offer from some other kitchen, or when someone brings it to the cookout. I know, I’m absolutely terrible.
But there is a really, really good reason:
My mom makes the best potato salad this side of anywhere. There is no way I could ever compare. So why even try when I can just get it when I go home? Better to indulge when in the presence of the master than to choke on cheap, ignorant imitation.
Oh my Lordy, I’m so horrible.
So… it’s a real and true fact that Mom makes the best potato salad. This is even agreed upon by the boys in my life. Potato salad is the first thing Ursa Major and Ursa Minor ask for when we get to Nana’s house. Even my husband, who has enjoyed my mother’s potato salad since 2002, has come to the conclusion that my mother’s potato salad is the singular best potato salad on the planet. He also is content to wait until getting home in order to get some. He also is really bougie about other people’s potato salad. Even his own mother’s… which is hilarious.
(I’m terrible, ya’ll!)
So imagine my surprise when I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday dinner and he answered, “I’m thinking pulled pork, and the good baked beans with the broth and the bacon… and some… potato salad?”
Say what? “Like… you want me to make it?”
“Yeah… that wouldn’t be a big deal, right? You watched your mom make it while we were down there?”
I mean, watching the master and emulating the master are two entirely different things. Yes, I know the recipe. Mom taught it to me. I wrote it down, I’ve watched her make it forever… I’ve known theoretical potato salad my whole life, never knowing I’d be invited to apply the knowledge!
As you can imagine, I was a mess all week. How to get it right? How to make sure I got the right brand of all the ingredients? How would I know the balance between the mayo and the mustard? Would I put in enough eggs? Mom seems to scorn the onion in favor of the celery, but I’ve always craved a more oniony flavor…
Anyway, I got the rundown from Mom one more time yesterday before getting to work. “It’s really not that hard, sweetie. You can’t screw it up. You’ll be fine.”
The result above is my first attempt. It was pretty good, but it just wasn’t Mom’s. Just like the kinklings will never quite be Grandy’s, my potato salad will never live up to Mom’s golden standard. This is ok. I’ll live. After all, it’s a point of pride and super flattering that The Husband asked for this recipe instead of any other version of potato salad in the whole wide world.
The Husband turned 35 yesterday and I have been the worst possible wife about it. While I luxuriate in my “early-thirties” for another few weeks, that sucker is now squarely in his “mid-thirties” and all I can do is cackle about it. Such slurs as “old man” and “over-the-hill” have been used. “35 is the new 40,” I said. “And 40 is absolutely the new 80!” Per usual, he’s taking it all in stride, the poor thing. He’s even shrugged when I’ve made active plans for a “younger, sleeker” model. “Make sure he brings money with him,” my husband replied with a chuckle. “28 year-olds aren’t known for being rich,” I said. He’s been a real good sport. As ever, I’m grateful for him. I met that boy when he was 17. Where does the time go?
We got up this morning to do all the “adult” things that 30-somethings with kids do: Laundry, cleaning, emailing, work… entertaining the children… getting oil changes for the mini-van… nothing terribly glamorous. Yet, still deeply appreciated. I enjoyed jalapenos and a habanero from the garden with my dinner tonight. The boys read me The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog and The Pigeon Needs a Bath (these are both Affiliate links) before going to bed tonight. I marveled at their enthusiasm and how fast they are growing. I delighted in their joy in sounding out words and acting out scenes. I shared a bit of a prideful look with The Husband, who watched them with the same awe that I had. Sometimes, when you stop and breathe and look it all over, this life can feel like a long series of miracles. Even the unglamourous days. That’s how it felt for me today. What a summer. What an age. Where does the time go?
There is one more week of Camp Mama in this house, then two little boys go back to school. As in summers past, I’m limping toward the finish line… but I’m also doing my best to soak it up and enjoy it. School time is a busy time for all. This is our last week to indulge in the not-doing, in the not-being, in the not-going. Next week, I’ll set the world on fire with my can-do personality and my get-it-all-done drive. I promise. 🙂
Hey, Dear Reader… it’s Monday. This week presents the opportunity for a million wonderful things. Reach out and grab for a couple of them. Let’s see what we snag between now and the end of the week, yeah? Isn’t it wonderful… the opportunity to start anew, to try again, to reach out and come back with something to show for your efforts? I cannot wait to see what you come up with this week, Dear Reader. Let’s get something done together, ok?
Until Wednesday, take care.