The Connelly family reunion is over for another year. We had a great time at Lost River State Park. There is little access to electronics or the internet at the park and only a few cabins have televisions. Most cabins are log, built by the CCC in the 1930's and are heated by wood-burning fireplaces.
It's rustic, remote and beautiful, with walking trails everywhere, a pretty creek, picnic shelters, and even Hidden Trails Stables, run by my sister Judy. It's a good place for a family reunion, and a good place for kids to get outside and explore. Which they did, in spades. I'm pretty sure all of the kids under 15 were in the creek at one time or another, and lots of people rode the horses or hiked the trails. Some even went geo-caching to a really remote mountain (yes, they found it!). Brother-in-law David is always on hand to help at the stables during the reunion.
One highlight of the reunion is the Saturday afternoon gathering. Everyone brings something for a big potluck dinner. Sisters Judy and Mary coordinate everything and brothers-in-law Jackie and Jay command the grills. In past years I've brought a pasta salad that has been a big hit, but this year I decided to make potato salad since pasta salad was already spoken for. The potato salad disappeared and a lot of people asked how I made it. Now if you make potato salad you know it can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. I kept mine simple. This is the recipe I used, as well as I can tell you. It makes a very large bowl full, perfect for a reunion or other gathering.
Family Reunion Potato Salad
About 4 pounds of red potatoes, boiled in their skins, cooled and cut up into bite-sized chunks.
4 stalks of celery, chopped
6 kosher dill pickles, chopped
Mix the vegetables together, then add:
About 1-2 cups of mayonnaise or salad dressing
About 1 cup of yellow mustard
About 1/2 cup of spicy brown mustard
About 1/4-1/2 cup kosher dill pickle juice
Mix well. You may want to start with the smaller amounts of the above ingredients and adjust them to your taste as you work.
Chop the potatoes into finer pieces with a knife until the potato salad is the consistency you like.
Add about 1 teaspoon paprika, or to taste.
Chill until ready to serve.
That's it. I do not add salt because the pickles and pickle juice seem to have enough, but again it's a matter of personal taste. Some people like to add olives, fresh dill (I do when I have it), hard-boiled eggs (I don't because it makes the salad not keep as well, in my opinion), and other things. The beauty of potato salad is its flexibility.
Another family reunion tradition is the Friday evening meet-and-greet. Jackie usually makes a huge pot of vegetable soup for this, but next year we're going to make Trash Can Soup, as Jackie calls it, or Stone Soup as storyteller me calls it. Everyone is supposed to bring something to add to the pot. In the story of Stone Soup, a man takes a rock and a pot of water and manages to make other people so curious that they add a few things to the pot--carrots, onions, a meat bone, etc--and in the end they have delicious soup, all from a stone! Imagine that.