Lots of families have some sort of a recipe that has spanned the generations. In my case the recipe is from my mother's family. It's the Lavission family's Mashed Potato Salad, a chilled tart version of potato salad. It was my grandmother's recipe, passed on to her five daughters, and now on to me and my cousins.
My grandmother, Sarah McDuell Lavission, was known as "Sadie" to her friends and family and "Mommie" to us grandchildren. She was a large woman with a great sense of humor and an ample lap for holding children. I remember that lap being a warm, happy place to be.
Mommie lived with my Aunt Flora, Uncle Harry and my cousin Bonnie on a beautiful farm in Ednor, Md. Mother's other sisters all lived reasonably close by, so our summer visits there were real family affairs. With all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins around, there was never a dull moment with the Lavission family! At the center of these get-togethers was Mommie.
Mommie was an excellent seamstress and was always busy with needlework of some sort, usually crocheting. I still have some of her handiwork - a little crocheted bear and some beautifully detailed clothes she made for my dolls.
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This talented woman also made lovely flower-shaped beaded pins, each uniquely crafted with small colorful beads on delicate wire. I distinctly remember my mother wearing these pins on her coats and dresses.
Years ago, I came across several of Mommie's beaded pins tucked away in a small box of my mother's belongings. When I opened that box I felt as if I had won the lottery - I was thrilled!
As for Mommie's cooking skills, I'll never forget her role in what we called the "great tulip bulb caper." Helping out with dinner one evening, she inadvertently cut up Aunt Flora's tulip bulbs instead of the onions sitting next to them on the counter. Fortunately, they realized the mistake before it became part of dinner. To this day I can't look at a tulip bulb without wondering what it would taste like in meat loaf!
Because it's served chilled, Mashed Potato Salad is a great recipe for summertime dinners and picnics. It's not your average potato salad, believe me. With Mommie in mind, I'm happy to share this Lavission family specialty with you. Enjoy!
Mommie's Mashed Potato Salad*
8 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
4 hard boiled egg yolks, mashed with 1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup vinegar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
Heat vinegar and stir in butter and mashed egg yolks. Combine mashed potatoes with onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Add vinegar mixture and beat well. Chill.
*My mother added some pickle relish to the salad, which apparently was a sacrilege. My Aunt Rena told me in no uncertain terms that there was absolutely no relish in it. The message was clear - don't mess with the recipe!