Now, I know you folks in other parts of the country THINK you know what this is, but you would be wrong! I'll bet you think it's a big ole bowl of potato salad, right?
There are many Southern foods that have yankee cousins, but pitatisalid is probably the most common. While potato salad is commercially available in the South, it is typically shunned by true Southerners in favor of the local variety of pitatisalid. Every region in the South has its own way of making pitatisalad, adding everything from peppers and spices to bacon and ham!
And, while most cooks in the South can make a good pitatisalad, no one can make the BEST pitatisalid. Only ones' mother can make the BEST pitatisalid in the South!
Momma Ginger DEFINITELY made the best pitatisalid Miss Ginger ever ate, and Miss G misses it woefully, especially at certain times of year!
Momma G had an old Tupperware ham keeper that was like a big rectangular bowl that was pointed at one end, making it shaped like an extended home plate. It was the only think she ever used to make pitatisalid, and it held a ton! She would usually make a big batch on Fridays if Miss G's brothers were coming home from college for the weekend, because it "sits good" and we never knew exactly what time they would get home. Even though she owned a food processor, she chopped everything by hand, and Baby G would sit across the breakfast bar and chatter away while Momma chopped, and chopped, and chopped! As Miss G got older, Momma would let Miss G help by peeling the potatoes and eggs. I watched her make it a thousand times, and I do everything just the way she did, but it's just NEVER as good as Momma G's was! We typically had it several times in the spring, with Easter ham, boiled shrimp, or boiled crawfish. And in the fall, we had pitatisalid during gumbo season. Even though rice is the typical "add in" for gumbo, a lot of people in Louisiana, including some of Miss G's brothers, put pitatisalid in their gumbo! If you get a really spicy gumbo, the creamy pitatisalid kind of balances out the heat.
The other reason Miss G loves pitatisalid is that it's like 2 foods in one! The night that it is made, it is served warm, and it's fresh, and aromatic, and one can taste the flavors of the potatoes and the vegetables. Then, the next day, after it's been refrigerated, it becomes a creamy, unified forkful of yum!
Miss G's pitatisalid tonight was good.... but not as good as Momma G's!