Who Made the Potato Salad?

Who made the potato salad? That is a very interesting question. The salad is a very frequent dish prepared in most households but few wonder about the origin of the food.

The potatoes are commonly cooked in America during the whole year.

The potato salad is part of almost every celebrated holiday. It doesn’t matter if it is Thanksgiving, Christmas or four of July; the salad has to be present in order for the celebration to be complete.

Logic would indicate that it should have been created in America but strangely that’s not necessarily true.

Where does it come from?

The origin of the potato lies in South America. The Spanish explorers discovered this tuber that was being used by the natives as a food source. Surely enough they decided to take it to Spain as part of their findings in the new world in the 16th century.

There was a lot of resistance to their consumption at the beginning since they considered potatoes the same as truffles which were food for animals. Eventually people began to develop a taste for it and spread through all Europe. Each country managed to include the potato into their meals making different variations according the preference of each region.

It was around the end of the 16th century that several countries developed their own versions of the potato salads.

Some of the hot potato salad recipes consisted of boiling potatoes with wine and others dressed them with vinegar, salt and oil.

The cold potato salads, especially the French ones; involved potatoes in vinaigrette with Dijon mustard.

The beginning of the new potato salad

The current salads normally require mayonnaise as one of the main ingredients, which is a big change over the vinegar. It is said that the American potato salad was inspired by the Germans’ version.

They brought their recipe to the United States at some point during the 19th century. Their salad dressing consisted of a combination of onions, bacon and some vinegar. Sometimes they would also use tomatoes and green peppers to complement the salad.

A couple of decades later the mayonnaise was invented by the French. Some speculate they used a mix of vinegar and maybe oil, etc.. This was the starting point of the potato salad that many Americans know to this day.

One man that could be considered the responsible for its popularity was Richard Hellmann. As a German immigrant, he introduced to the United States his version of mayonnaise through the potato salad at the beginning of the 20th century. The person that created the recipe was his wife and soon enough became a huge success.

To answer the question of who made the potato salad we could say that technically immigrants from Germany seem to be the ones more likely responsible for the delicious salads that we enjoy today.