Warm Potato Salad with Green Beans

The hot weather has returned.

The oven is, once again, off and salads are back on the table.

This has been one of our favorites for years.

Bacon and cider vinegar add the traditional flavors of Hot German Potato Salad.

The green beans and celery round it out, making it a great accompaniment to grilled meats.

Serve warm or room temp…  Or even right from the fridge!

The recipe, Warm Potato Salad with Green Beans, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Green Bean & Potato Salad.

I really shouldn’t like this….

According to my upbringing, anyway.

My mother didn’t like Hot German Potato Salad.

Parents / early childhood can have a strong influence on what and how we eat.

I remember the German Potato Salad incident well…. We were at the local ‘Smelt Feed” (we loved smelt).  I was very young, 5 or 6. As we were going through the buffet line with our plates, my mother announced that ‘We don’t like German Potato Salad.”

I assumed that was an absolute truth.

I was married and cooking for years before I ever even tasted it.  I immediately loved it.

We had a similar situation with tomatoes….

Yes, tomatoes.

I was 18 before I ate a fresh tomato.

My mother claimed to love tomatoes.

She would peel it, slice it, then put salt, pepper, sugar on each slice and smother it all in bottled French Dressing.

I thought the whole thing was awful – thereofore, never ate them.

When I finally realized how wonderful fresh tomatoes were I suggested she try them naked.

She said she liked them the way she ate them.

I maintained she liked the salt, pepper, sugar, French Dressing and the tomato was just the vehicle to get it to her mouth.

On the other hand, she loved liver, sauerkraut, rutabagas…  And smelt.

Things that I also love and many people absolulety loath.

We never ate, and I still don’t eat, tongue, sweetbreads and brains.

How did your childhood influence your adult eating habits?

How did you influence your children’s eating habits?

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11 thoughts on “Warm Potato Salad with Green Beans”

  1. My father loved canned asparagus, which was mushy and gross with a big dollop of mayonnaise. I tried to eat it as a child and gagged. I didn’t experience fresh asparagus until I was late in my teens. Most of the vegetables we had growing up all came from a can….I think that was the mentality of the late 60’s early 70’s. I would no more eat vegetables from a can today then I would eat brains, tongue or sweetbreads (I agree with you on that one).
    Stacy

  2. I adore warm potato salad! I adore any kind of potato salad (unless it turns out that the potatoes are calves’ toenails disguised to look just like diced potatoes – that happened to me in France once at a buffet).
    Most vegetables horrified me when I was a kid. I had no idea until I was an adult that broccoli could be still bright green when served. The first time I had broccoli was in chicken divan. What a ridiculous dish that is. As I recall, the instructions were to parboil the broccoli for 3 minutes and then lay it in the bottom of a casserole with the chicken and white sauce (I think) and bake it for 30 minutes until the chicken was done and the broccoli was grey and almost disintegrated.
    Sweet potatoes (yams) were the biggest revelation. Mom always served them for festive dinners with a sweet orange sauce that was almost jellied because it had so much corn starch in it. I hated the sauce. I assumed that I hated sweet potatoes too. Until I had them baked and plain at someone’s house.

  3. Agree with Stacy. I never had fresh asparagus until college, when this small town Midwesterner got a roommate from suburban New York. And my culinary education, still in progress, began.
    I love the colors of this potato salad, Katie, and I think I’ll have to give it a try.

  4. I grew up in London, during WWII, so not a lot of choice; we ate what was available, and didn’t know about likes and dislikes, except for a younger sister who has never been able to face pork (influence of a Jewish Grandfather, perhaps?). After I came to US, I learned to eat avocados, asparagus, artichokes, all the things that were not available to a kid from the East End of London.
    My daughter ate everything presented to her, until she went to school and the other kids told her liver was yucky – also fish, and various vegetables. Thankfully, she’s outgrown that, and now works to introduce her husband to salads and vegetables.
    That salad does look good.
    God bless, Christine

  5. I think we eat a lot more fresh foods today that seemed only to come in cans when I was a child so perhaps processing, availability and refrigeration techniques have altered and improved upon my childhood diet.I thought olives and coffee were both vile when i was little and now I cannot live without either !! So weird !

  6. Isn’t it funny how hard it is to break from those childhood eating patterns? We never had fresh veggies as a child and I have spent most of my adult life leanring to love them – not a challenging task, actually.

  7. This recipe is close to one my mother-in-law taught me to make but the potatoes are parboiled along with the green beans until just losing their crunch. Then I mix the chopped, fried bacon, grease and all, into the drained potato/green bean mix, add pepper and a little salt to taste. So bad for the arteries and so great for comfort!
    Growing up for me meant no money, so little food and my mother never learned to cook from her mom (who was fabulous!) It was either boiled chicken or mince and tatties. That was pretty much it. However, from my maternal grandmother, I ate haggis and still love it, from my paternal grandmother, I love rutabagas and turnips thanks to pasties. No one, not even my kids, will eat any of those things. They have no idea what they’re missing…

  8. My mom was the daughter of a butcher/USDA meat inspector. We grew up eating just about every cut of meat that existed, tongue included, but no brains or sweet breads (those I tried on my own once in Hawaii). In the summer we ate a lot of garden fresh vegetables and my parents even made their own wine from the one vine we had growing. I can thank them for my love of good food. But I didn’t start to cook until I was out of college and in Hawaii. I had to call my mom and ask her how to cook a potato 🙂 I now love to cook and try to introduce just about everything to my girls, who are only somewhat enthusiastic about new flavors. But I hope I am opening a window for them, for later on. We do eat a lot less meat than when I was growing up and my girls are okay with that.

  9. Stacy, my mother loved canned asparagus – and never liked fresh asparagus. The only fresh vegetable we had growing up was carrots – and beans and sweet corn in summer.
    Elizabeth, mon mari got tripe that way once – thought it was potatoes. Thankfully we only ever had baked, whole sweet potatoes – it was an Easter treat. As to chicken Divan – I love it, but I also pre-cook the chicken so the broccoli doesn’t get over cooked… and I use lots of yogurt and Dijon in the ‘white sauce’ LOL.
    Mimi, college was a culinary eye-opener for me, too.
    Christine, we didn’t have all those California choices where I grew up in the Midwest…. My sister refused to drink cow’s milk… She only would drink ‘milkman’s milk’. When it came from our cousin’s farm she wouldn’t drink it.
    manningroad, I’ve always loved olives – but they were only a holiday treat for us so they were special. Canned ‘peas and carrots’ were a staple on our table – horrid things….
    JDeQ – I never had cauliflower or broccoli or Brussels Sprouts until I was on my own and cooking – love them all.
    Theo, I love rutabagas – but they were also a holiday treat (don’t know why) Amazing how something treated as special will be eaten happily be kids. My mother was a competent cook but didn’t enjoy it… and didn’t pass on any tips LOL
    Meredith, my mother didn’t grow many vegetables – she loved flowers. But she did make wine every year – rhubarb wine (it was great). I took home ec in high school – for extra credit. That got me started cooking – although it was the one and only time I’ve ever made Baked Alaska!

  10. As a kid in Germany, I remember the “warm” potato salads, though when we moved to the US, I became enthralled with “cold” potato salads (perhaps due to the increased heat?). These days I’ll take my salad like my beer (such as I drink that anymore): at room temperature.
    As for my childhood’s food influences, we ate seasonally — so ahead of Hipster and Granola times! — but only due to availability of fresh fruit and vegetables. In the winter there was canned fruit (today: yuck!) and pickled vegetables (today: yum! after a period of only wanting fresh). My settlement: only fresh fruit, when available in season; and frozen veggies when fresh are not available). The pickled veg are usually a treat these days, not something for mothers to try to stuff us with vitamins in the dark winter anymore.
    There was no offal in the house, though my parents were not rich. I do like liver, however, and tacos lengue are quite tasty (tastes like liver-lite). In our small village there was a slaughterhouse where the guts and whatsoever were piled up six feet high; it was horrifying to us kids so it was a big deal to go down there and run in and SEE it and then run out. Chitterlings? No thanks.
    When we moved to the States it was all about gardening and my parents set up a one-acre garden and FORCED us kids to tend it, weed it, fertilize it, etc. Smart parents. We had tomatoes, herbs, beans, peas, okra, and even a row of corn (yuck, that’s pig food). I guess one eating habit would be that “grow your own” tastes best, then. Marijuana growers, I’m not talking about your habits.
    Christine in LA: my mother-in-law, also named Christine, was an East End child during the Blitz, was not evacuated due to parental preference, and her habit to the day she died was: no limit on butter.

  11. Dan, my mother was German, but the only pickled vegetables we had were beets and sauerkraut… And she always canned fruit for the winter. I grow sweet corn here – still pig food to the locals, and winter squashes – only one step removed from pig food. Funny, my mother also had no limit on butter…. For her! She frowned on me eating it with sugar… on my finger

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