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Sides Make the Cook-Out

In the South, we love to cook outside and invite our friends to enjoy the fun. From burgers and hot dogs, to ribs, chicken, brats and steak, cooking out just seems to create an atmosphere that is fun for everyone.

But it’s the side dishes that often make the meal. Guests are almost always happy to bring a dish to add to the menu and it is often one of their favorite recipes – tried and true baked beans, deviled eggs, beans or pasta salad – so you get the cream of the crop!

Potato salad is almost as ubiquitous as the burgers, but recipes are incredibly diverse. In an informal survey among my co-workers, I was amazed at how many variations (and commonalities) there were among a limited sample. Here is a quick recap:

• Potatoes: Boiled, baked and new red
• Pickles and pickled: Sweet and dill pickles, sweet and dill pickle relish, olives with pimento, pimento
• Onion: Onion, red onion, scallions, no onion, onion powder
• Other vegetables: Celery, red pepper, cucumber
• Other: Boiled eggs
• Dressing: Mayonnaise, salad dressing, mustard, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar
• Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, sugar, paprika, onion powder, celery salt
• Other: Soft cream cheese, butter, bacon and bacon drippings

Based on frequency of mentions from 23 people , it looks like the favorite ingredients around here are baking potatoes or red potatoes with onion, celery, eggs, mayonnaise or salad dressing, sweet pickle relish and mustard. Of course, there were many variations, combinations and additions to these ingredients, but I think it does show that traditional potato salad is alive and well. What’s your favorite?

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