Yesterday was my Gramma's birthday, and today we had a party for her at her nursing home-away-from-home. I am far too young to have a Gram that just turned 97, and guess that she just had my Dad when she was in her late 70's or so.....that lady in the Guinness Book of World Records was just a poser. There was a smattering of family there, from toddlers to the nicely aged, and hors d'evoures, wine and cake enjoyed by all. Gramma was a trouper - she made it for between 3 and 4 hours, then had to be whisked off to her room to lie down from all the excitement....but mostly because I think her hindquarters were numb from sitting in her chair for so long. I know she had fun, and she got in more than a few good ones too....she's no slouch, that blue hair.
There were family photo albums there that I had never seen, photos of my granparents from when they were babies in the 19-teens years that were blasts from the past - the whole button shoes, dresses up to here and down to there, hair up in buns, and nobody smiling...was it so miserable back then, or were they just really, REALLY frugal, even with their expressions? I found one pic that made me crack up....it was a family shot with mom and kids and the dog, and even the DOG looked pissed - made me wonder if they didn't have photoshoots on the same days they gave typhoid immunizations "SMILE! *stab* OW!" But it was fun to look at them, imagine a very different time and world, and be thankful that I never had to wear a gigantic bow in my hair or churn butter.
The guests brought light snacky foods, and I'm telling you right now I think my Aunt's main squeeze Stan could make a zillion bucks off his venison meatballs with portobello mushroom gravy - not a game fan but they were heavenly! I made a artichoke parmesan spread with jalapeno's that got rave reviews, and I wouldn't even go near the table until Jen's Lumpia was gone....I wanted to snatch one right out of Gramma's hands, but decided against it since I didn't want to get "shinned" by the foot rests on her wheelchair. Jen is my neice and makes the worlds most delicious lumpia (Phililpino egg rolls, FYI), but fried is the devil right now so I had to pass.
So instead of the Parmesan Artichoke Jalapeno Spread, I am giving forth with the skinny on making Potato Salad of the Gods...at least the German ones who also like beer and to wear shorts and suspenders with knee socks and a whiskbroom in their hat brim. This recipe started out from Better Homes and Gardens, circa 1980 something, then was adapted since then into a top 10 favorite....most people love this, even picky eaters - with the exception of Son #1. And I am still not entirely sure he is mine because of it - when you have a C section, they can bring you any old baby, and I think I ended up with someone elses whiny I-don't-like-German-Potato-Salad kid. It could happen....and I'm sure he's now going to show me and tell me I'm crazy and he LOVES GPS...whatever. He's probably going to tell me he doesn't like Sauerbraten, fondue and potato latkes when I serve them at Christmas too - I will just keep some Cup-a-Noodles on hand, just in case.
German Potato Salad
6 medium red potatoes, washed, boiled until tender, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1/4 lb. bacon slices, cut in 1/4" strips
1 onion, diced
1/2 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut in half lenghtwise and sliced
2 T. flour
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 C. water
1/2 C. cider vinegar
Parsley for garnish (if you want to get all fancy)
Prepare potatoes and keep warm. Put bacon, onion and kielbasa in large frying pan and saute until bacon is just starting to brown and onions are tender. Add flour, sugar, salt and pepper and stir until flour starts to brown, add water and cider vinegar and bring to a boil, whisking until sauce thickens and boils. Cook for a minute or two, adjust with salt, pepper and sugar to your personal taste, then pour over potatoes or dump potatoes in skillet and fold in carefully to avoid mashing up your potatoes. Serve warm, and try not to pick out all the kielbasa before it gets to the table....it will be noticed. Sprinkle that parsley on top if you are feeling Martha-ish...it's highly unecessary, but does make it pretty.
You can make it without the sausage if you really want - I however like to have a little meat with my potatoes...and bacon doesn't count if it's chopped up, I consider it a herb. This is good with anything, or just by itself - I suggest a salad or some steamed vegetables, but I'm a Mom and have to say that even when I personally want to take the whole casserole and a wooden spoon in my room and lock the door. Dab a little behind your ears and drive Helmut wild....braids and riding crop optional. (Sorry....that was wrong)