My sister asked hesitantly in a phone conversation: ”Since Walt (Walt Strosser, my brother) won’t be here for Christmas, could you (pause) make (pause) the German Potato Salad?” Insert organ music here — horror movie style.
The family recipe for German Potato Salad had been passed down from my father to the three Strosser kids when we were young. I think I was recruited to cube potatoes for it when I was old enough to hold the potato cuber — yes, that’s what I called it. Frankly it’s about time some of the next generation started making it — I mean they are aged 21 to 48, for crying out loud.
Anyway, my sister’s request came years after I had split duties with my brother for a holiday — we each made a batch of the sacred Strosser spud salad. Everyone — my own kids included — agreed that my brother’s potato salad was much better than mine.
Now, I’m not a foodie, and considering the amount of work that goes into this recipe — I think they could have been a little more charitable. They were brutal. I should add that this was on the heels of a Strosser family reunion where my cousin from Greenville (who had never, ever, ever (like Taylor Swift sings) made German Potato Salad) agreed mine didn’t cut the mustard, and it doesn’t even include mustard.
At Christmas, my brother gloated. Really — gloated.
I swore that I would never make it again. For anyone. Never. Ever. Ever. That was about four years ago.
Now, they need me. Funny how things work.
One of the problems with my recipe, they all agreed, was that I used parsley flakes. My brother used fresh parsley. Let me be clear. My parents never — I’ll stop with the ever, ever part – used fresh parsley. My mother had a gallon jug of parsley flakes in her spice cabinet, and I never saw a sprig of fresh parsley in that house. Ever. Tradition — gone like the wind.
So this year, I will make the sacred Strosser spud salad complete with fresh parsley diced neatly into little pieces. This serves as a warning to the fam. You are going to love it. Love it, hear me? And no matter what happens, my brother will not be there to gloat.
Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one.