Potato Carrot Salad

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You'll find this recipe in:
The Modern Family Cook Book
By: Meta Given
Chicago, 1953

The Original Recipe:

POTATO CARROT SALAD
3 cups diced cooked potatoes
2 1/4 cups diced cooked carrots
2/3 cups chopped dill pickle
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon grated onion
Combine diced, cooked potatoes with carrots and pickle. Mix mayonnaise with pickle juice and add celery salt and grated onion, blending well. Add seasoned dressing to vegetable mixture, toss lightly and chill to blend flavors. Serve on lettuce arranged on individual plates or turn into a lettuce-lined salad bowl. 5 servings.

My Experience:

With only three chopped ingredients in the salad, this is a fairly simple but delicious recipe to prepare. The dressing is also rather easy to put together, but is subtly flavourful. The only issue is that I'd describe this salad as having a mayonnaise sauce, not a dressing. Next time, I'll either make less dressing or use more veggies for a more balanced salad. I was surprised that I enjoyed the addition of the lettuce leaves, though. Not only did it make my plate look beautiful, but the lettuce added a splash of freshness to the potato salad and cut the heaviness of all that mayonnaise.

I popped the vegetables onto my kitchen scale after I chopped them, so if you're accustomed to measuring via weight, you'll need approximately 450 g/1 lb of chopped uncooked potatoes, 300 g/11 oz of chopped uncooked carrots & 100 g/4 oz of chopped pickles.

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I made this salad to bring along to an early Mother's Day work bee at my Mom's house. At 85 years old, my Mom lives alone in the country with a large backyard & kitchen garden to tend to. When I was a child, most of our evenings in the warm weather were spent outside in the garden and doing yard work, and I remember my Mom as a practical & seemingly tireless worker. She still has her "get 'er done" attitude, but these days she needs more help than she used to in order to actually get 'er done.

When I was growing up, my Mom had her own copy of the 1953 edition of The Modern Family Cook Book, and I remember loving its design even as a kid. I think it's the most gorgeously designed cookbook in my collection today. Each time I open it, I marvel at the care that went into designing the layout, the illustrations and the attention paid to the tiny details.  My Mom was an elementary school teacher when she was in her late teens until her late 20s, and this cookbook was published around when she moved out on her own.

I was born when both my parents were in their 40s, so I had a different experience at home than most of my friends with younger parents. My Mom and Dad both grew up on farms and they also retained many of the values of the generations before them. My Dad could basically repair anything and we lived by the ideology of fixing, not replacing. My Ken doll was able to live an extended life thanks to a screw that held his head onto his neck, so he always wore a metallic kippah with a Phillip's head design!

My Mom preserved fruits and vegetables by canning them and filling our large chest freezer. Our washing machine was a ringer washer, and getting the weekly laundry done was a day-long process. When all my friends had a collection of Cabbage Patch Dolls, my Mom made me a Baby Miss Piggy doll with a hand-made "couture" wardrobe. We didn't have a dryer, microwave or computer until the 1990s.

I did find some of these differences embarrassing, and sometimes difficult to explain to my friends. As an adult, I really appreciate my slightly unusual upbringing and it's probably the main reason why I've found my passion as a Historical Interpreter & Historic Cook. I appreciate that I work in environments that were built to last for generations and not be discarded & replaced by the next-best-thing in a handful of years. Not only did my upbringing prepare me for some of the practical aspects of my duties, but I think my work life keeps me a bit more connected to the slower pace of my childhood, when the rest of my life seems to run faster as time goes on.

I certainly live a different lifestyle than my parents when they were my age, but I've never been afraid to live life my way thanks to their example. Happy Mother's Day, Mom! And to the rest of you – Keep It Weird.

 This picture was taken about a year ago, when I was showing my Mom how to take a selfie on my new cell phone

This picture was taken about a year ago, when I was showing my Mom how to take a selfie on my new cell phone

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