Oma’s German Potato Salad

Germans and potato salad—a match made in heaven, right? At least, that’s what I thought, standing in the kitchen, determined to surprise my then-boyfriend (now-husband) who was busy tending to the garden.

Armed with a cookery book I found lurking in the kitchen cupboard, I excitedly flipped to the potato salad recipe. It began with a cheerful, “Man nehme Pellkartoffeln und schneidet sie in feine Scheiben...”

Hold on a second. “Pellkartoffeln? What exactly does that mean? 

A quick check in the dictionary told me it means “potatoes in their skins.”

You’d think a whizz-kid like me, who did well in cooking theory exams at school, wouldn’t struggle with this. But cooking theory is one thing. Actual cooking? Now that’s a whole new game.

So, there I was, scrubbing and slicing potatoes as thin as paper, and tossing them into my salad dressing. All while keeping it hush-hush so as not to spoil the surprise.

Fast forward a few hours. Dinner time came. I served my pride and joy—my potato salad. 

And can you guess what happened next? 

My boyfriend burst out laughing. “Oh dear, Christine,” he said, wiping a tear from his eye. ”Pellkartoffeln means potatoes COOKED in their skins!

Can you believe it? Talk about a facepalm moment. 🤦

Has anything similar happened to you before? I’d love to know.

So what did I learn?

  1. There’s no shame in saying, “Hey, I’m not sure what this means.
  2. Mistakes happen, but that’s how we learn. In the end, the experience (and hopefully the delicious food) is what matters most.

Have you had any similar cooking mishaps?

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Foto Christine Sparks

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