Read's brand canned German potato salad

My local supermarket hasn’t carried Read’s canned three-bean salad in many years, but I recall that it was quite good. That’s an easy thing to make so I usually made my own but used the canned sometimes in colder months, when I didn’t want the larger amount one gets when using several cans of beans.

Recently, in Wegman’s, I spotted Read’s German potato salad in a 51oz can. Good for hot weather, when I am not about to heat my kitchen cooking pounds of potatoes. I figured I’d have to doctor it but to my delight, it’s fine as is. Tastes the same as what I’d buy at the deli counter. This will be a regular summer pantry item for me, as it provides a good side dish option at any time, without the need of going shopping when it’s too hot to want to venture out. I believe they had smaller cans too.

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Aldi has had three beans in the cans, you would have to make your own vinaigrette with a little sliced onion, which is easy enough to do.

We’ve been enjoying all summer, it was one of my grandmother’s (obm) favorite recipes.

I think they are $0.59 a can.

Too bad Aldi’s isn’t nearby for me.

my recent German visitors were teetering between horrified and highly amused that they found German potato salad in a tin while we were shopping for dinner fixings one night.

They also were mystified by our definition of German potato salad as being the warm version with bacon and vinaigrette – to them (one Hannover, one Sauerland - so both from the north) kartoffelsalat has potates, mayonnaise, mustard, and some dill, with a side discussion about celery and hard-cooked eggs-- i.e., exactly what we all call potato salad. What we call German potato salad is apparently a special thing for them and their families, too.

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Yes, I have had this discussion with native Germans regarding the differences in types of potato salad as well. “German” potato salad as we know it in America (bacon, vinegar, onions, served warm) is not really a thing there, although there are definitely many different styles of Kartoffelsalat served in Germany depending on where you go. No idea how it came to be called “German” here, although I suspect it has origins among German-Americans in the Midwest. A quick google search indicates that its origin might be Poland, but you can’t believe everything you read on the internet!

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In southern Germany, Schwaben, where my relatives are from, a potato salad consists of potatoes, beef bullion, oil, vinegar, finely chopped onion, salt and pepper. Nothing else.

It is ideally served at body temperature, like sake.

With so few ingredients, it is important that everything be of the highest quality.

Special sorts of potatoes are used, like bientjes or king Edward, Christa or Laura, which are harvested early so they have less starch and hold together better. They are actually sold in 20-50 kg sacks starting in July for root cellars.

The beef bullion is also key. It needs to be freshly made with real beef and fresh vegetables.

It’s a lot of work, and properly made a true southern German potato salad is both delicious and a thing of great beauty.

If you watch Chef Walter Staib from the City Tavern in Philly he does a show where he goes back to his mom in Pforzheim and makes potato salad with her.

This is also the potato salad you will get at Oktoberfest or the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, and is the classic accompaniment to a true Wiener Schnitzel.

And I’m sorry, but it is nothing like the German potato salad sold here in cans.

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A true southern German potato salad looks like this:

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Gi Gi, if you have a Wegmans there will be an Aldi pretty much within 30 minutes drive from you:

www.aldi.com

By the way, Aldi is a German owned chain, they also own Trader Joe’s in this country.

sort of-- there are actually TWO Aldi’s in Germany – Aldi Sud and Aldi Nord. They were run by brothers who couldn’t agree on how to run their father’s company, so it split, but they’ve operated from a nearly-identical business model.

Aldi Sud is the one that operates as Aldi in the US; Aldi Nord owns TJs (and sources a lot of their products from the same companies, so lots of things, like chocolate! are made in Europe)

Better things are coming, though – another European low-price chain called Lidl has opened a US office – IMO they are head and shoulders better than Aldi!

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Lidl:

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That’s the one – can’t wait til they’re here.

I’ve been to both Aldi and Lidl in Germany and Sweden. Both are box stores, so a little strange for American tastes. I would say Lidl does a slightly better job with merchandising/displays, but both are good.

I think Lidl will be opening stores in North Carolina soon, which is pretty far from us in Jersey.

Not sure I’d say box stores, as “big box” usually refers to megastores like Home Depot and Walmart.

But box as in plain-Jane decor with generic signage and not much ambiance is a fair description.

We loved their dairy prducts – I went to Lidl for yogurt, creme fraiche, etc, as theirs was just plain better than any other retailer’s. I’m doubting that this would hold true in the US, but it was an interesting point.

Their non-food products were actually quite good – I still have some clothes that I bought at Lidl (of all things…) and their kitchen electrics were just flat-out good. (gave all of those to friends as 220v appliances were of no use to me back in the US…!) I bought bakeware, pots and pans – and I still own (and still use) all of it.

I mean box store in the German sense, ie the wares are sized for the individual consumer, but not stacked or displayed, just left in boxes that are opened and left on the shelf.

A German version of “Big Box” would be Metro, the cash and carry with larger packs for wholesale, which is where Sol Price got the idea for Price Club.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold