Habits are Unconscious Behaviours
You've all heard the story about the housewife who always cut the end off the roast before she put it into the oven. When her daughter asked her why, she replied that her mother always did it that way, and that was what she'd learned. So, when Grandma came to visit, and they were having roast, this happened again. When the granddaughter asked why she had taught this to her mom, Grandma said, "Well, my roasting pan was pretty small, so I always cut the end off the roast so it would fit. I guess I never explained that to your mom!"
Habits - we even inherit them!
Habits Can be Changed
I realized today, as I was making my favorite potato salad, that I have been a victim of habit. For more years than I care to remember (I'm a Nana, after all), I always cut the potatoes in half before I boiled them for potato salad. Just like you'd do for making mashed potatoes.
Then, after they were cooked, I'd have to juggle them in my hand to peel them and cut them into cubes. None of this pre-cooled stuff - I was a working mother who just had an hour to throw dinner together. I'd juggle, and peel, juggle and cube, and yell, and have the cold water ready to soothe my singed fingers.
The other day, I saw the light.
I cut the potatoes into small cubes BEFORE I cooked them!
What an innovation! What a brilliant Nana!
Easy Potato Salad
And now, here's my recipe for what my husband calls the BEST potato salad. (Well, he likes my neighbor Ingrid's, too).
Cut up enough potatoes for the salad (depends on how many you're feeding, and whether you like left-overs) into cubes or chunks about 3/4 of an inch in size. No need to be picky and regular. If they're new, no need to peel them.
While they cook in salted water, cut up celery, peppers (all colors), cucumber (the long English ones) and green onions (including the green parts) or red onions. Again, quantity depends on how many you're feeding.
Use about half as many veggies as you do potatoes. Coarsely chop some fresh parsley, coriander leaves, fresh dill or fresh basil and oregano. Dried herbs just won't do!
When the potatoes are just cooked, drain them, and immediately add extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Mix, so that these permeate the hot potatoes.You don't want the potatoes to be swimming in the oil and vinegar, but you also don't want them to be too dry. Experiment!
Now, mix the veggies into the hot potato mixture, add salt and pepper to season, and either serve warm (my favorite) or chill in the fridge before serving.
We love this version of potato salad and with the extra vegetables and olive oil instead of mayo, it has the benefit of being a lot healthier.
Try this potato salad recipe next time you have a craving for potato salad. I'll bet you'll never go back.