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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Southern Cooking with Miss Ginger!

Miss Ginger had some crab cakes from Sam's Club in the freezer that she wanted to fry up, and she needed something to go with them, so she made this.


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?


WRONG! That is a big, delicious bowl of pitatisalid, a delicacy only available in the South!


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!

11 comments:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

A wonderful tribute, and it sounds fabulous. Time for me to head out and get a bite to eat.

Darla said...

i love this post! such a sweet and loving story. this is so true... i feel the way about my momma's pinto beans- they are the best.

Sam said...

Sweet memories. We will have to eat pitatisalid together one day. But the one question I always ask those who take such pride in making this wonderful dish. Do you put pimentos in you pitatisalid?

mrs. miss alaineus said...

yum!

ever try it on a sandwich?

Lisa said...

you make me home sick....and now I feel the need to make some myself.....sigh, off to get the ingredients ready....

David Dust said...

OMG - that looks SOOOOOOOOOO good to someone who hasn't eaten carbs in weeks...

XOXOXOXOXO

MadeInScotland said...

YUM!

ahoj

Beth said...

Although I make the potato salad variety, I know exactly what you're talking about. I think I make it exactly like my Mom does...but Mom's always tastes better! XOXO

theminx said...

Hmm...let me just say that someone who is eating crab cakes from Sam's Club has some nerve critiquing potato salad eaters in the North. ;) As a Marylander, I believe the only crab cakes worth eating are made somewhere close to the Chesapeake Bay, preferably with crabs picked with one's own hands, and seasoned with plenty of Old Bay!

As for potato salad, My Grandma made the best in my family, with hard-boiled egg, sour cream, chopped green onions, and salt and pepper. I was happy to eat a big bowlful of it, warm, for dinner. Mom's was good too, but not the same. And commercial potato salad doesn't even cross my threshold. Don't know where that puts me in the ranks of "potato salad vs pitatisalid" but the latter is the way my Uncle, with his strong Baltimore accent, pronounced it!

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Dear all ( and especially the Minx):
Miss Ginger in NO WAY meant to insult potato salad eaters... simply to point out that there was a distinct regional difference. As there is with crab cakes... which are for shit in Texas. BTW: the crab cakes Miss G fired up were created and frozen in the great state of Maryland!

kayce. said...

oh. my. god.

i have never even *THOUGHT* to use pitatisalad as my gumbo catcher but it sounds like PERFECTION!!! i am a fan of pitatisalad in all it's forms, but this really sounds magical: thanks for the idea!

and if it makes you feel any better, i miss my mom's pitatisalad, too. and also like you, i do everything just like she did, and i still don't get it quite right. i'll keep trying though, LOL.

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