I grew up being the official taste-tester when my Mama made her potato salad. I’d pull the kitchen stool as close to the area of the bar where she was making her potato salad as I possibly could so that I could oversee the process. With my short, little girl legs swinging, I didn’t want to miss a single step of it.
Potatoes were cooked and drained, eggs were boiled and carefully peeled, an onion was diced, and then came the pickles. Oh how I couldn’t wait for those pickles. They symbolized coming to the part of the recipe where I was most needed. As Mama would walk over to the refrigerator for the mayonnaise and mustard, I was in charge of making sure my tasting spoons were at the ready. Of course they were, I had them precisely lined up on the bar just ready for the time when Mama would need one to scoop up a bite for my first sampling.
Now Mama and I laugh about how serious I took my job of taste-testing the potato salad as a little girl. She tells the story of how she would do the same thing as a little girl with her Grandmother, knowing now that her Grandmother would purposefully not add enough of certain ingredients so my Mama could help her perfect it before serving. I haven’t gotten the courage to ask Mama if she did the same with me, it might somehow take away from one of my favorite memories.
And ya know, I still have my spoons all lined up ready to taste when the potato salad making is in progress.
What is it about the job of taste-testing? It just never gets old.