Mrs. Marguerite Stowe’s Potato Salad Recipe

Thanks Mrs. Stowe!

Well, I warned you this might happen. Here it is: Marguerite Stowe’s potato salad recipe. It turns out my mother inherited this from my Grandma Heffernan, so there’s a certain heritage here—though nothing so hallowed that my mom was afraid to tinker with her inheritance. Which is how the classic cocktail olives (small, green, briny, and stuffed with pimentos) got involved. “I always thought they give it a little zap,” mom says. Indeed they do. In print I called this recipe “gastronomical LSD.” You may think I oversold it. But as basic as these ingredients are, when combined they turn a seemingly simple potato salad into something transformative. Which seems utterly appropriate on America’s birthday. Happy Fourth of July.


5–6 medium red potatoes (do not peel)
½ cup (approx.) celery, thinly sliced
½ cup (approx.) cucumber, peeled and chopped
2–3 green onions, thinly sliced (including green parts)
salt and pepper to taste
6–8 green cocktail olives (with pimentos), sliced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann’s)

Cover potatoes with cold water and sprinkle with salt, about 1/8 to ¼ tsp. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes until firm but not soft. Remove potatoes and cool to room temperature. When fully cool, cube potatoes. Put potatoes in large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Add other ingredients. Toss with about ½ to ¾ cup of mayonnaise to taste. The sliced green olives go on top for garnish. Sprinkle top with paprika. Serves 4.

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