Potato salad Paula

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 8.39.49 PM

Picasso and pie, 64pp.
by Lynne Thompson
Ure Smith Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1968
Cooking on page 32

As an incentive to get more people to come to her annual art show, Lynne Thompson started offering an ever-changing gourmet buffet at her gallery in Blue Hill. Maine, USA. It worked and, over time, the food outshone the art.

The first show, in 1952, was organised as a fund-raiser by the Ladies Social Library of Blue Hill. The menu that year was pies—hence the title—prepared by the dozens.

The tactic proved to be so popular that the Blue Hill Buffet was ‘born’ and operated each year for the entire 10-week summer season of each art show.

The public begged for the recipes and in 1964 Thompson responded by publishing an original ‘compendium’. My edition, produced especially for Australia, includes a page of ‘amendments’ at the back. Little comments on certain recipes, such as ‘clams are not obtainable in Australia’ and ‘use fresh lemon juice in place of the lemon concentrate’.

I’ve always thought this book was special, even if I bought it secondhand for $3. I’m tempted to try the cardamom cake on page 35. The notes say this is the recipe that made the buffet’s reputation. But today we are on page 32.

Potato salad Paula

Potato salad Paula

Ingredients and method
Boil 12 small potatoes in their skins.

Drain and peel while warm. Cut into thin slices.

Add while warm:
4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon tarragon (scant)
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground dill
12 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup strong beef stock

Mix carefully with a fork until mixture looks glossy. Make the day before and keep in a cool place. NOT in refrigerator.

When serving, surround with lettuce and sprinkle with finely chopped chives and parsley.

How it played out
My eyes did a major double-take when I saw 4 teaspoons of salt and 12 teaspoons of oil were needed for 12 baby potatoes. Whoa! I used 16 potatoes, which I didn’t bother to peel. I cut both the salt and oil in half, but the final dish was still way too salty for modern tastes.

Verdict
Not your typical potato salad, but nice for a change and dead-easy to make. Just remember to go easy, really easy, on the salt and oil.

Oh, and I haven’t been about to find out who Paula is/was. 🙂

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About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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6 Responses to Potato salad Paula

  1. G’day and thanks Peggy! I LOVE stories surrounding food too! I believe the lady is Paula Deitz Morgan and here is more info
    http://cookbookoftheday.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/picasso-pie.html

    and

    http://www.bluehill.lib.me.us/pdf/BHPLNotesVol14-1.pdf
    Paula is personally thanked for her contributions/recipes too

  2. Beth says:

    Oh I LOVE this story!! A Maine cookbook with an Australian edition!! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • leggypeggy says:

      My pleasure Beth. Glad you got a kick out of it. I also have an Australian edition of Peg Bracken’s I hate to cook. I’ve loaned that to a friend and will do page 32 when it comes ‘home’.

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