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Choose one potato salad: German or American. Answer now.

Illustration for article titled Choose one potato salad: German or American. Answer now.
Photo: Mariha-kitchen, orinoco-art (iStock)

It’s a wonder Kevin and Kate even work together. Can they agree on nothing? Cottage cheese is a non-starter, and don’t bring up the topic of breakfast meats in their shared presence unless you’re ready for barbed verbal fisticuffs. The latest subject of culinary controversy: the superiority of German vs. creamy American potato salad.

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How are you gonna say no to vinegar and bacon?

By Kate Bernot

Kate “Ich leibe potato salad” Bernot
Kate “Ich leibe potato salad” Bernot
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I am no mayo hater. In fact, I’m a huge fan of the stuff, just not on my potato salad. Potatoes are—need I remind us—quite starchy, and covering them in goopy mayo is one application of this condiment I can’t recommend.

German potato salad has so much more going for it, texturally, visually, and in terms of flavors. First, a vinegar-based dressing studded with crispy chunks of bacon yields a much more pleasing texture than the spackle-like duo of mayo and potato. It’s also not electric yellow.

But all good culinary arguments come down to taste, which the German version packs in spades. There are discernible flavors in German potato salad: vinegary tang balanced by sweetness, made savory by bacon and onion, freshened with some chopped herbs. I’ve had decent American potato salad, but far too many versions just taste like unplaceable potato glue. I guess if I needed to grout some tile, I could see its merits.


Mayo and potatoes,” shouts fat man

By Kevin Pang

Area tub of lard Pang
Area tub of lard Pang
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Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate.

Kate.

Kate. Kate. Yo Kate. Kaaaaaaate.

I’m sick of people in shape fitsplaining me why I shouldn’t add mayonnaise on everything.

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Mayo on hot dogs: Objectively more delicious.

Mayo on Mexican corn: Objectively more delicious.

Mayo on French fries: Do I need to go on?

It’s this last example that I push my creamy potato salad agenda. Mayo + boiled potatoes = double cream city. Yeah, I get the whole “vinegar cuts through creaminess of potato blarghity blaghity.” But you can still get the acid with capers, pickles, a squeeze of lemon juice, and amplify the best part of potato salad, its unctuous quality. Hell, throw in your precious bacon in my American potato salad too.

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Or put another way: Don’t separate a fat man from his goddamn mayo.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Kate, Kate, you have never been so right in your life. Kevin has been more wrong, though (specifically, mayo on hot dogs.)