Thursday, October 29, 2009

Celebrate German Heritage Recipe #5.2: Lydia Wegener’s German Potato Salad

It’s a cornucopia of GPS recipes! Remember versions 5(.0) and 5.1? This is the last of my Oktober, er, October, celebrating-German-heritage recipes. I will of course keep sharing recipes with you, so don’t worry.

Here is another recipe from my mom’s collection. The recipe is from Lydia Wegener, who was a crony of my Grandma Renner’s, a Lutheran, who was in Grandma’s circle. As in, church ladies’ circle. (I think “circles” were what people had before there was Facebook.)

Being good friends, Grandma and Lydia Wegner apparently swapped various recipes. Years later, Dorothy Schaefer (Lydia’s daughter and next-door neighbor to my Grandma) (I mentioned Dorothy and her husband, Ralph, earlier) shared some of her homemade chili sauce with Grandma.

Grandma tried it, and remarked, “Why, that tastes quite a bit like my chili sauce!” Dorothy showed her her recipe, explaining it had been her mother’s recipe, and Grandma looked at it and said, “Well, that’s my recipe!” Turns out she’d shared it with Lydia years and years before.

. . . But we’ll get to retro chili sauce recipes some other day.

Anyway, like I said in my first GPS post, the techniques and dressings for German potato salad really do vary from one recipe to another. Here’s one where the dressing is made with an egg.

I found this to be a very sweet version of German potato salad, and surprisingly light. The abundance of celery and green bell pepper helps lighten it quite a bit.

As usual, I’m presenting the recipe just like I acquired it, keeping my editorial comments to a minimum; I’m adding them in square brackets. And be sure to read my comments at the end.

German Potato Salad, from Lydia Wegener

[Put the first five ingredients into a big bowl:]

12 sm. potatoes [cooked and cut up]
3 lg. blades celery [chopped]
1/4 green pepper [chopped]
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion [chopped]
4 slices bacon

Cut up and fry bacon and pour over the potatoes. Add the following dressing:

For dressing, bring to a boil:

1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar [apple cider vinegar, of course]

Note: As you can see from the photos, I’ve made this salad, and I have to say I don’t understand the dressing at all. Maybe I didn’t make it correctly, but I couldn’t see that the three dressing ingredients should go in the pot together—it seemed that the vinegar would cook the egg--but maybe I should have cooked them together anyway.

As it turned out, I cooked the sugar and vinegar together, first, then added the egg, which, I should have predicted, immediately cooked into solid swirls; it basically became “egg-drop soup.” I put this “dressing” into the food processor to make it into something smoother, and it worked (sort of). If anyone has any better idea about how to make a “dressing” out of egg, vinegar, and sugar, please let me know!

Another comment: I used big red potatoes instead of small ones, and I overcooked them a bit. It tastes good, anyway!

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