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Description

A hearty side dish that consists of potatoes, eggs, vegetables, and mayonnaise.

History

Origin

The history of food exchange and foreign influence in a country is one that often follows trade routes and exploration efforts. The history of the potato and the development of potato salad is no exception. During the 16th century, Spanish explorers discovered the potato in South America and brought the vegetable back to their homeland; from there the potato was introduced to Europe by farmers and merchants.

Potato salad most likely developed in Germany. European style potato salad is generally served warm and incorporates vinegar or olive oil and herbs. Potato salad was later introduced to America by European settlers and, by the nineteenth century, Americans created a variation of the European-style potato salad to include mayonnaise.

Evolution

Potato salad most likely came to Guam with American administrators following World War II. Soldiers as well as government workers moved to the island to assist with the rebuilding efforts and the establishment of the American administration in Micronesia. Chamorro men who joined the US Navy and were assigned as mess attendants (cooks) probably brought this dish to Guam after preparing it in navy kitchens.

Although men may have brought this recipe to Guam, it is a dish most commonly prepared by women who have added their own flair to the recipes making it uniquely their own. When a woman is “assigned” to make potato salad for a fiesta or party, she may take extra care in decorating the dish. Hard-boiled eggs are cut into the shapes of flowers, yolk grated to garnish the surface of the dish and other vegetables such as red pimentos are cut or shaped to ornament the salad.

Preparation

In contrast to the standard European potato salad that is served warm, the potato salad served on Guam is the American version that is served cold and includes mayonnaise and a variety of chopped vegetables, such as pickles and pimentos.

Placement on table

Potato salad is placed next to the kelaguen section, which is after the starch åggon and meat totche selections that are at the head of the table, respectively. In larger parties, the potato salad along with other “appetizers” such as kelaguen may be placed on a separate table.

By Velma Yamashita, MA

Recipe

Potato Salad

4 large Idaho potatoes, boiled until tender then cubed
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 ½ large dill pickles, chopped
1 4 ounce jar pimentos, chopped
1 4 ½ ounce can olives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise (approximate)

Combine cubed potatoes and chopped eggs. Add pickles, pimentos, olives.  Mix. After completely combined, and salt, pepper and add mayonnaise mixing thoroughly. Arrange on a platter and decorate if desired. Refrigerate and serve cold. Serves 5-6.

*Recipe by Velma Yamashita