Thursday, June 23, 2011

Balance

When I was working, I prided myself on being able to balance work and personal life. Yes, I gave extra hours, usually in the early morning before the boss got in (not a good strategy, by the way, if the boss can't see you). All in all, I did a good job of giving a professional effort but retaining my real life, too.

Now that I'm retired, it's the same game. I like being a volunteer tutor but have gently declined to give my whole week to it. I enjoy blogging but I try to keep it to a fascination rather than an obsession. I enjoy cooking, but I'm happy sometimes to call for pizza. I love my Masters swimming but only want to do it three times per week. I love my dog but don't want to walk her more than our routine of 2X daily. I read about two potboilers to even out one of the weightier tomes.

Balance is what makes for great potato salad, too. You can't add mayo without balancing it with something tart. It's fatal to have too many pickles or too little celery. If you overdo the eggs, the spuds get lost. The salt-to-pepper ratio matters vs. the amount of fresh herbs. Even the size of the chopped ingredients matters: too big and the spuds aren't dressed enough; too small and it's more like cold mashed potatoes than potato salad. You get my drift.

The problem is finding that perfect balance where it all sings in concert on the tongue but all the elements get a chance to solo as well. Lois' potato salad was like that. I tried making it a few weeks ago but mine didn't have that beautiful equilibrium between flavors and textures that hers did, so I keep trying. I got darn close this time but I'm open to suggestion, which is just another kind of balance, isn't it?

How do you balance your life? Or just your potato salad.

My Tribute-to-Lois' Potato Salad (so far)

*About 1 pound of yellow potatoes, boiled in their skins, cooled and peeled. Chop to about 1/2" dice.
*2 hard cooked eggs, preferably fresh local, organic, free range, brought to a boil and cooked for just 12 minutes, plunged into cold water to stop the cooking, then peeled (or more likely scooped out of the shells with a spoon as most really fresh eggs won't peel) and chopped into 1/4" dice.
*4 small (2-3" long) sweet pickles, chopped into 1/4" dice
*1 medium sized rib of celery, chopped into 1/4" dice
*1/2 white onion, chopped into 1/4" dice
*3 Tablespoons mayo (I like Hellman's/Best Foods)
*The juice of one big lemon, no seeds allowed
*freshly ground black pepper, perhaps 1/4 teaspoon
*1/8 teaspoon (approximately) sea salt

Chop the first five ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the mayo with the lemon juice and add the salt and pepper, mixing all together. Pour the mixture over the chopped ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until all are sauced.

I meant to add fresh dill this time but forgot to buy any. I'm balancing a trip to the store with a wish to save gas. Ha!




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5 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger Greg said...

Sorry about deleted comment. I put my comment to previous post here.
Tater salad to me is a meal in itself. I agree balance and timing are sometimes elusive.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I know you're aiming for that certain special something, and I don't know what it is.
For the record, however, I like to dress the still-warm potatoes in a sassy vinaigrette, where they can suck up flavor. After they cool, I toss them with mayonnaise (but never pickles).

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

I, like cookie, dress my spuds while warm. Sometimes we add mayo, sometimes not.
As for life balace, that comes and goes :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, me, too. I could eat just that and nothing else - and sometimes I have!

Cookiecrumb, I think my lemon juice does for my recipe what your vinaigrette does for yours - a little tartness. I've had potato salad with both sour dill and sweet gherkin pickles and I like them both.

Ms Mouse, I'm always afraid to dress with mayo when spuds are warm, for fear they will cause the dressing to spoil. If you use vinaigrette, it's not a concern.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  

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