Potato Salad Days

I have just the best friends ever. 

My favorite, favorite wine – my table wine – is a Sauvignon Blanc out of New Zealand under the Whitehaven label. I have a longtime friend who lives with his family in New Zealand right now, and despite the distance between us, he’s well aware that this wine is my go to, because I’ve sent him pictures from exotic locations like Orange Beach, Alabama that look like this:


In return, when he and his family went on a trip made up exclusively of locations where he could indulge in some day drinking he sent me a picture like this:


How completely thoughtful is that?

Might it have been more thoughtful had he not added the comment, “They say it tastes better here” and asked his hosts to send me a case of same said wine from the winery while he was there? Perhaps. But it’s the thought the counts, right? He is very thoughtful, this guy. After he found out about my last break-up, he wrote to me almost every single day. Because of the time difference – he’s roughly half a day ahead – we fell into this rhythm where we would write to each other before we went to bed at night.  Every morning I’d wake up to this lovely email from him to start off my day with a smile. We kept this up for about six months. Love that guy.

He’s a friend from my salad days. I love that we’re friends still, but in the interest of full disclosure, we were more than friends once upon a time, and it took us some time – about 10 years, actually – to reconnect after a split that was THE break up. For years, yes years, after there were days when I woke up from dreams of him finding myself already crying. Remember feeling that way after a break up? Truly awful. I’m so glad we were able to get back to a place where we could be in each others lives, however peripherally. It’s nice to think that just because the relationship didn’t work, the love is not lost.  

I re-read a book recently and these words spoke again to me:

Anything I've lost

The author was discussing Aparigraha, or non-attachment, which is the last Yama in the Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. In this strange world we live in today, never has this principle resonated more. I don’t think I’m the only person who took this slower time, this quiet, to reflect on what I find to be most important to me. In the end, don’t those things and ideas that we’ve clung to so tightly also become like so much noise? Sometimes the things on which we place value are not things but people and relationships. I try to remember to hold loosely to those, not because they don’t mean something to me. At times they mean more than almost anything. No, I hold loosely because everything in life comes to us on loan.

Keys, money, pets, a broken vase, a loved one, an earring, one sock inexplicably lost in the dryer, a job, a good friend, my mind, a band of gold, a memory, naïveté, a car in the mall parking lot in December, 457 pounds (cumulatively), a bad habit, an identity, a plan, a hat, my heart, my heart, my heart.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true: Each time I’ve lost something, I’ve gained something, too. 

I lost my grandmother not too long ago, and when I came across an article written by a woman who claimed her grandmother had the best potato salad recipe ever. I thought to myself, challenge accepted, which made me realize that what I gained from that loss is a fiercely competitive streak. You’d understand had you ever had the pleasure of meeting my grandmother.

My apologies for not having the link to this other woman’s potato salad recipe for comparison’s sake, not that you’ll need it, but I submit to you MY grandmother’s potato salad recipe. It’s New York-style and it is so stinking good that it doubles as her macaroni salad recipe. So efficient that woman. And it’s so delish, so simple, so very minimalist. This is the perfect season for a potato salad, so go give it a whirl. Report back how much you love it, too.

Grandma’s BEST Potato Salad

6 potatoes, large (not Idaho)
1 C Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
1/4 C vinegar plus 1/4 Cup water
1/4 C chopped onions
1/2 C chopped celery
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch garlic powder

BOIL potatoes in skins until tender.

POUR off water and let potatoes cool and dry in their skins.

PEEL and slice into mixture of other ingredients, tossing occasionally as you add the slices. If too dry, add lemon and water (half and half), one tablespoon at a time.

CHILL before serving.

Variations: Decorate with fresh or chopped parsley or make it vegan by subbing in your favorite vegan mayo. If you’d like to try out Grandma’s BEST Macaroni Salad, just sub in your favorite elbow macaroni for the potatoes. So, so good!!!