Facebook. I love it half the time and hate it just as often. I realize without FB I would have 100 less people that I’m friends with, mostly from my Iowa childhood hometown. For a loner that’s significant and I’m grateful. But FB is nosey and likes to keep track of everything. So I don’t post or comment very often. Pictures of my grandchildren, food or canning pictures and my WordPress blog post that I move from their platform to share on my FB home page. I stay away from all quizzes where they ask leading questions like, “what would your first name be if it was your grandmother’s maiden name?”
Nearly four months ago it started out simple enough. It must have been posted by one of my friends but I don’t recall who. A question posted from The Slow-roasted Italian. Worded like, “Who adds mustard to Mayo when you’re making potato salad?” Oh my goodness. I’d say I started a shitshow or shitstorm but I’m trying to refrain from saying shit so often. (I don’t think it’s working). Well sh—. Never mind.
For the record, I don’t care for Mayo (whatever brand, but dang folks are passionately loyal and vocal on that subject), or Miracle Whip, the brand I prefer and never add either to my sandwich, not even my favorite, the BLT. But something’s gotta hold my Pea, 7-layer, Veggie slaw or potato salads together right? So it’s got to be one or the other as the base for my dressings. In my defense I don’t use one more often than the other in the various salads I make. But if I’ve always used Mayo for my pea salad, I would never switch it to Miracle Whip. Wouldn’t taste right. And I would never use anything but Miracle Whip in my potato salad. Period. There lies the rub. I never imagined there would be such a heated debate on my humbly written comment on how I make potato salad and what goes in it (or even on top of it). “Paprika you fool,” not sliced egg dusted with black pepper.
Anyone who follows my blog knows I couldn’t cook or bake when the Hubs and I eloped in 1969. Not because my mom was a bad cook. She was a good cook but never wanted me in her kitchen or messing it up. She wasn’t eager to teach me and I was less than eager to learn.
Once the Hubs and I got hitched, I knew that had to change. We had to eat-period-and dining out wasn’t an option. (Payday was every other Friday, and a stop at McDonald’s was a big stretch on our minuscule budget). John’s mom, Mag was willing (even enthusiastic) to share her prowess in the kitchen. She was a fantastic cook and baker and I was better at retaining skills if the lesson was visual. So that’s the way she taught me. By standing side-by-side in her kitchen or mine. The only problem, Mag rarely measured ingredients. She just added a dash of this, a squirt of that, a small amount from the palm of her hand, a rounded spoonful, a titch or a pinch to most of her entrees and salads. Who needs those pesky measuring spoons anyway? So that’s how I learned. A few years ago, Erica my daughter-in-law asked for my potato salad recipe, I finally had to break down and make a big bowl with measuring cups and spoons handy. (After she made a large quantity for a potluck she lamented what a pain-in-the-ass it was and it would be long while before she offered to bring that stuff again). Hahaha.
Verbatim this is the comment I wrote: Miracle Whip, titch of yellow mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, potatoes, eggs, diced celery, radishes, sweet pickles, green onion. You’re welcome…
To which I added a picture of a bowl of my potato salad in my beautiful Blue Delft Bowl. Over the past several weeks there’s been 550 comments-about my comment. Holy sh—. Granted I answered almost half of those. Many were positive, heartfelt, grateful and nice. No one knocked my bowl. Duh. A few were downright unkind and most of those were written by guys. Sous-chef? Gourmet cook? Asswipe? I don’t know, but I never answered with a negative comment. Not once. (Although I did bless a few of their hearts).
The words in my comment causing the most discussion was MIRACLE WHIP and SUGAR, followed by hotly contested RADISHES and SWEET GHERKINS. (I mean who in their right mind would add such outlandish ingredients)? Only me I guess. Probably 50-50 on MW vs. Mayo. The Miracle Whip-ers were “yum,” “that’s my recipe,” “sounds good,” and “looks delicious “ while the Mayo enthusiasts were, “Hellman’s,” “Best Foods,” “never MW,” and a gif of Jim Carrey gagging (which makes me gag just to think of him-period).
But I learned a lot about the tastes we’ve grown accustomed to when talking about “their family’s recipe for the best potato salad in the world! And don’t you dare try anything different or change my mind.” Olives, bacon, orange juice, vinegar, green peppers, paprika, Bermuda onions, garlic powder, tomatoes, (my favorite food but not in potato salad) cucumbers, jalapeños, dill pickles. The list of people’s favorite ‘must include’ ingredients was lengthy. Others thought potatoes and eggs were enough and came down pretty hard on “too many crunchy things in there,” “or is this really just a dessert?”
For a gal who avoids confrontation at all costs, it was an interesting few weeks. A couple times a day I’d read through the 40-50 new comments and answer a few, smiling, nodding or shaking my head in amazement thinking, it’s just a picture of the way I make my potato salad. Cool your jets. Be nice. Heaven help me should I actually ever write something controversial. Not in this lifetime…