What's Your Potato Salad Style?

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Potato salad, it turns out, is a very personal thing. People have opinions!  They have strong preferences that they will not budge from! Which is kind of strange when you consider that potato salads are classic picnic and potluck fare. Take our survey, and read on for our take on the four basic sorts of potato salad... 

Potato salads create the kind of situation where your largest bowl is taken down from the top shelf and filled to capacity with your potato salad of choice and then lugged to an event to feed 25 people or more.  It's supposed to be a crowd pleaser, but it only works if the crowd consists of a single family and it's their potato salad that's being served.

Potato salads can be roughly broken down into four categories.  Of course, there are endless variations within each category and some have even combined (bacon is often used in non-German potato salads, for instance).  But here's the basic breakdown:

German potato salad. This salad is usually made with vinegar and bacon and should be served warm.

Mayo-based potato salad. A dressing is made using mayonnaise and folded into the cooled, cooked potatoes.  Other ingredients also include onions, herbs, hard boiled eggs.

Dairy-based potato salad. Similar to mayo-based, these salads are bound with yogurt, cream or sour cream, or a combination.

Vinaigrette-based potato salad. This salad is made with an oil-and-vinegar dressing and often has other vegetables added such as chopped sweet peppers and onions.  

Other favorite additions besides bacon that can span potato salad types are green beans; pickles; capers; various chopped herbs such as dill, parsley, mint and basil; celery; lemon; mustard. 

What's your secret to a truly delicious potato salad?

(Image: Nealey Dozier)

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Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.