I’ve never had a reason to make potato salad before, and that has been just fine with me.
Mom is the potato salad maker in our family. She’s made it for summertime gatherings, grandchild graduations and perhaps even a funeral or two at church.
It isn’t that I dislike potato salad. Mom makes a pretty good rendition of it, actually. I’ve just never felt the need to whip up a batch.
I envision a single-serve salad might call for one small potato, a hard-boiled egg, a dollop of mayo, a small squirt of mustard and a dash of salt.
Making potato salad for one seems almost not worth the effort. Potato salad for the crowds who flock to the 4-H Food stand at the Nobles County Fair, well now, that’s a different story.
Early Friday morning, our Ocheda Beavers 4-H Club was on food stand duty. As a 4-H mentor to four of my neighbor kids, I was responsible for getting them to the fair with their hats atop their heads and their brand new 4-H T-shirts on their back.
The four, slightly giddy 4-H’ers were at my back door by 7:15 a.m. (who could possibly be giddy at such an early morning hour?) and we drove out to the fairgrounds to begin our shift. Two were waitresses, one was in charge of beverages, and the lone male in the group was to keep an eye on the pies and pastries.
As for me, I was put in charge of making a double batch of potato salad.
Do you know how much food goes into a double batch of 4-H Food stand potato salad?
Well, let’s start with the 20 pounds of cooked potatoes that had to be peeled and diced. My cousin’s wife graciously volunteered to peel the spuds while I sliced and diced, and sliced and diced some more. It took forever!
Next, I added in four dozen eggs, running each one through a handy-dandy little egg slicer twice to create just the right size egg bits for the salad.
I should have looked at how many ounces were in the industrial size plastic container of Miracle Whip, but because I didn’t I’ll just say I’ve never seen a jug of salad dressing that large before.
The rest of the ingredients were measured with a cup of this and a cup of that, tablespoons and teaspoons — amounts most household cooks typically work with.
By the time I finally combined all of the ingredients, the really hard work began — getting it all “stirred up good.”
My hand, wrist and arm gave out before they should have, but the master cook nodded in approval and my big batch of tater salad went into the cooler. The next 4-H Club on duty had the task of scooping it into single-serve containers.
Depending upon Friday’s popularity of potato salad, diners at the 4-H foodstand today will likely get a chance to sample some of my so-called cooking efforts (I didn’t boil the eggs or cook the potatoes.)
Feel free to give accolades to the chef (just kidding!) or, better yet, leave a little extra cash or coin in the 4-H tip jar at the end of the counter. I’m sure the money will go toward a good cause in 4-H.
The Nobles County Fair continues through Sunday, so you still have plenty of time to come out and see all of the projects on display in the 4-H and open class buildings, as well as all of the livestock and poultry in the barns.
The 4-H Beef show is this morning, with the Ribbon Auction slated for 3:30 this afternoon. During the auction, the Rolf and Joan Mahlberg family of rural Worthington will be recognized as Nobles County’s Farm Family of the Year. Congrats to the Mahlbergs — and thanks to Rolf for being one of my favorite ag teachers!