Bacon and chives set off German potato salad


If you’re a believer that everything’s better with bacon, then try the Kersten family German Potato
Made for family and church picnics, Sandy Kersten first made it for a Lutheran church picnic in the
Washington, D.C., area 50 years ago.
“It’s got half a pound of bacon, with the bacon drippings,” Kersten said.
For added taste, the salad gets “Schnittlauch,” which is German for chives that are always homegrown, but
available at many grocery stores today.
Kersten believes the recipe is at least 100 years old.
The original recipe was passed down to Kersten from her mother-in-law, who frequently made it for family
events in the summer. She was given the recipe from a German woman who was a neighbor just after she was
married. It became an expected favorite at family reunions.
“I just don’t remember ever going there that there wasn’t potato salad,” said Kersten of the regular
events. It was often served with ham sandwiches.
Kersten will also make the dish for her husband, Jim, on Saturdays in remembrance of the big weekend
family lunches.
The first time she made it, the recipe didn’t have instructions or measurements. It was given quickly
over the phone. She laughingly recalled that the only thing she did correctly was cutting up the
“She assumed a lot of things that a lot of people would not know,” Kersten said of her mother-in-law’s
directions. “That first church picnic nobody took it, because it looked bad. I had Jim go back and get
it. … It had one scoop out of it.”
Despite her father owning a small short-order restaurant called Joe’s Tasty Hamburger Shop, she didn’t
cook much before getting married.
“New bride. I’d never cooked much before. My mom was an excellent cook. I always knew how to cut up
potatoes, because I would do that for my father’s restaurant. My dad was Joe. He would make homefries,”
Kersten said.
She eventually learned how to do it, standing in the kitchen working next to her mother-in-law, after she
made a special trip from Cleveland.
The two keys to getting the taste right are putting it together in layers, with salt and pepper to taste
for each layer, then making sure to reserve the bacon drippings for the mixture that is poured over the
top at the end.
“I just loved cooking once I was married,” Kersten said.
She now makes this recipe four times a year, for family events. Typically she doubles the recipe for
bigger occasions.
Because there isn’t flour or mayonnaise she thinks it’s an unexpected flavor compared to many modern
recipes. However, she likes it for outdoor events because there are no ingredients which require
refrigeration, like eggs.

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