The votes are in and MIDDLE AMERICAN (USA) is our Cuisine of the Quarter! This is the cuisine I grew up with, as a native of Michigan and child of Ohioans on both sides. It feels very apropos to be posting this on the 4th of July, the most American of holidays, and I look forward to discussing the food of my childhood (and how it has changed and developed) over the next couple of months.
We celebrated the 4th at a friend’s lake house with the most classic of American meals - burgers and dogs on the grill. I made one of my favorite side dishes to go along with it, a totally middle American concoction despite its name - German potato salad. One of my best friends from college was from Pennsylvania and introduced me to this recipe, which I have been making ever since. Presumably the name came from the recipe’s roots in the Pennsylvania Dutch community, but I can’t say for certain. It’s not a salad that I have ever seen on a menu in Germany, though! I quartered red potatoes (skins on) and steamed them until tender. While they steamed, I cooked chopped bacon until crispy, removed it from the fat and dumped a pile of sliced red onions into the fat. I let those cook until they were soft and brown, then tossed in a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar and lots of vinegar (normally I use cider vinegar, but I only had white wine this time so into the pot it went). I dumped the hot dressing onto the hot potatoes, stirred in the bacon, seasoned heavily with salt, pepper and chives, and that was that. Serve hot or at room temp (hot is better IMO). This salad is always a huge hit and gets devoured long before the more typical mayo-based potato salads at potlucks.