Brad’s Unforgettable Potato Salad

When my son, Brad, was in the fourth grade, he came home from school one day in late February with a notice about a lunch that his class was planning to help reinforce their lessons about Maine agriculture. Each child was asked to contribute a food that was either grown or produced in Maine.

Potato farming is a major northern Maine industry, so we picked potatoes from the suggested list. The afternoon before the lunch Brad helped peel some cooked potatoes and mix them with chopped celery, onions, hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper, dill, and mayonnaise. Potato salad always tastes better when the flavors have a day to blend. It smelled great as I spooned it into a newly purchased Rubbermaid container with a tight seal for safe, easy transport on the school bus.
“Ask Mrs. Morton if she would like to have the leftovers,” I said to Brad as he left for school on the morning of the lunch. “She can take them home in the container and return it later.”

When Brad returned from school he said they had blueberry muffins, apple pies, cider, fried clams, lobsters, along with the potato salad and potato chips.
“Did you ask Mrs. Morton if she would like to keep the leftovers?” I inquired.

“Yes,” replied Brad a bit tentatively.

Two weeks later, I asked Brad about the container, assuming Mrs. Morton had taken the leftovers home. “I think it’s in the cooler,” he responded. It never dawned on me that Mrs. Morton did not take the leftovers and the potato salad was still at school.
Weeks passed. Being somewhat distracted, I occasionally remembered to remind him to bring the plastic Rubbermaid container home.Then one cool cloudy day in April, as I watched Brad, container in hand, get off the school bus, I could tell by his expression that the leftover potato salad was more alive than ever! I directed him to drop his back-pack on the porch, go outside to the compost heap and garden hose.
Brad played outside in the cool air afterwards trying to forget the awful smell as I soaked the well-rinsed container in hot sudsy water.Late in the afternoon, as I was preparing dinner, he sat at the kitchen table and talked about how gross it had been and how his classmates had reminded him all day to “take that stinky potato salad home.” Mrs. Morton stood at the door to make sure he did not leave the classroom without it.
“You should have seen the kids on the bus!” he said with a regretful look on his face. I laughed, picturing their facial expressions. The bus driver had told Brad the next time he had a science experiment to get his parents to drive him home.

When his dad came home from work he joined us in the kitchen. We talked and laughed more over the day’s events. We thought up funny word combinations – stinky spuds, terrible tubers, yucky Yukons, and more.

Then my husband asked, “What’s for supper?”

Suddenly, I remembered the dish in the refrigerator — prepared the night before so the flavors would have a day to blend — potato salad.

Potato Salad Recipe
4 – 6 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled, & chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 – 2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon dried or fresh chives
2 tablespoons dried or fresh chopped parsley
mayonnaise to taste — about 1/3 cup
pepper Mix in large bowl & store in refrigerator overnight. Keeps well if refrigerated for 3 – 4 days.