German Potato Salad: A maiden voyage

Process requires multi-tasking from start to finish

Posted: Friday, April 02, 2010

Last year, for reasons I cannot clearly recall, I agreed to try my hand at making German Potato Salad. Armed with a recipe from a cookbook we have had at our house since I was a little kid, I began in the kitchen with a fair amount of confidence. After all, over the past several years I have grown to like the kitchen more and more, and it's fun to try your hand at something new every now and then.

Five minutes into the German Potato Salad maiden voyage, however, the only thing I was confident in was the growing inevitability of disaster. You wouldn't know it from a glance at the rather brief recipe and instructions, but the process requires multi-tasking from start to finish. Throw in the fact that the sauce - in my experience, anyway - looks like dirty laundry water before you combine it with the potatoes and there are moments when it is tempting to "accidentally" spill the whole mess into the garbage.

"Oops! Awww, sorry everyone ... oh, well. Let's just eat the bacon."

Resist that temptation, though. The payoff when you're done with this recipe, as unlikely as it seems every time I set out to make it, is fabulous.

What you'll need:

• Potatoes (chopped or sliced however you like)

• Bacon (more is better)

• ½ cup vinegar (white works, as does apple cider vinegar)

• ½ cup water

• 2-3 tablespoons flour

• 2-3 tablespoons sugar

• Salt & pepper

• Celery seed (1 teaspoon)

• 1 onion (chopped)

• 2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs

There are three processes that need to take place before you combine everything in the end to make it all look surprisingly pretty and taste so good it is a little ridiculous. Do things in whatever order makes the most sense to you, but here's the routine I have gotten pretty used to: First, get the bacon going. Then start the hard-boiling of the eggs - a task I'm still perfecting. Now you can chop up the onion and slice your potatoes however you prefer. My minor OCD kicks in here usually and I like to get all my ingredients measured out and set on the counter, just waiting to be used.

With the bacon still cooking and the eggs doing their thing, you can start cooking the potatoes. Olive oil, low heat and whatever seasoning you want. Once the bacon is done, set it aside but save some of that grease. Without thinking about the health stats, start the chopped onions sautéing in that grease. Mix in the flour, sugar, salt & pepper, and celery seed. Add the vinegar and water and let the heat work (stirring from time to time) until the mixture thickens.

Don't sweat the dirty laundry water look. It will work out, I promise!

Finally, once the sauce is to your liking, add it to your cooked potatoes and mix it in. The finishing touches are your bacon (crumbled) and hard boiled-eggs (sliced).


• Chester Duke Carson was born and raised in Juneau. He graduated in 2004 from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., and is scheduled to wed his fiancée in Orange County (don't you dare call it. "L.A.") in 2011. He also considers himself to be a bona fide fantasy football guru.

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