Previously, I've given mayonnaise a hard time. I've even go so far as to divorce mayonnaise from its natural-born lover, potato, and for that, I'm sorry. It wasn't right, and I'd like to retract my previous stance on the humble potato salad.
I will stick to my guns on my general distaste for mayonnaise, that won't be changing anytime soon. Whenever I see it, and you already know this story, I flashback to the fifth grade lunch table and there I am, complete with a purple Trolls lunchbox and peanut butter and jelly with matching purple jelly stained bread, watching Bonnie dissect a bologna and mayonnaise sandwich in the swivel stool across from mine. She'd peel the bread away from the single slice of meat (sans cheese, which I could never understand what sort of mother sends her child a deli sandwich without cheese), dangle it in the air, then slowly nibble at it like some sort of blonde kitten. It was coated in a thin blanket of mayonnaise, and it was gross. I want to crawl under the table just thinking about it.
Bologna sandwiches aside, the sour tang of that awful ivory-colored condiment has always been enough to make me turn my nose up at anything containing it, but this potato salad does something different. It sort of swallows up the mayonnaise in a way - you're so distracted by the noisy orchestra of crunchy celery and vinegary bite of dill pickles rattling between your ears, you hardly even notice the mayonnaise. Really, it's just there to bind everything together, to make sure everything's getting along. And they do.
It's quite important to have a decent potato salad recipe under your belt as picnic season rapidly approaches - make it a priority. And I know this prime time for outdoor eating is just around the corner because my cravings for pulled pork, strawberry shortcake, Arnold Palmers, and yes, potato salad, have increased ten-fold.
Now, in my family, we are dill pickle lovers. Kosher, crispy, sour, tangy dill pickles. My Dad - not so much. He is of the bread and butter variety, and that is a place I simply cannot go as I find sweet pickles to be nearly as repulsive as bologna sandwiches, so he nitpicks through this potato salad, pushing the pickles to the side of his plate and reminding me how much he hates them. But it's the pickles that make this salad a pleasure to eat and I have a reputation for doubling the amount called for here. You can, too. I won't tell.
Before I forget - the onion. I hate raw onions with the fire of a thousand hells. I can get on board with sauteed onions, slowly melted in butter until they're soft and tender, or even swished together with a little broth and a cap of cheesy French bread, but never raw. Never, never raw. They turn my eyes into tiny faucets and I can't deal with the lingering burn it leaves on my tastebuds for hours on end. It's gotten so bad that I can't bear to smooch my husband for at least three days post-raw onion consumption. I swear I can still smell it. So if your feelings for raw onion are similar to mine, leave them out and measure out the same quantity of celery, hard-boiled egg, or pickles to help fill your salad out.
Oh, and Happy Picnic Season.