It's Time To Stand Up for Homemade Potato Salad Come On, People, It's Not That Hard To Make. Do You Really Think We Can't Tell the Difference?

Liberty: A Lake Wobego... Garrison Keillor Best Price: $0.10 Buy New $2.47 (as of 10:46 UTC - Details) I walked the length of the westbound Lake Shore Limited as it left Albany last Sunday, six crowded coaches, and counted three Twitterers and a couple of phone texters, six laptoppers (two of whom were watching movies), four video gamers, and 27 people reading books. Books made of paper! Turning the pages with their fingers one by one, reading the lines left to right, just as people have done for hundreds of years. Ain’t that something?

I didn’t lean down for a close look at the books they were reading – I was not brought up to do that – so perhaps bodices were being ripped and stalkers were stalking and meteorites were heading straight for Earth, but no matter. Books were being read!

Pontoon: A Novel of La... Garrison Keillor Best Price: $0.10 Buy New $3.39 (as of 09:15 UTC - Details)

Along with live theater, monogamy and the bald eagle, the paper book has been despaired over and its demise freely predicted, and yet, among people heading west, it seems to be the diversion of choice. So Dickens and Jane Austen and Flannery O’Connor are not dead yet.

And the bald eagle is coming back, along with the gray wolf and the Yellowstone grizzly – though less attractive endangered species such as the glassy-eyed smelt and the orangefoot pimpleback mussel and various arachnids are still in doubt – and theater seems as alluring as ever, judging by the number of young New York waiters with large personalities. And as for monogamy, it’s there, waiting to be rediscovered.

So let me speak up for an endangered menu item this Fourth of July weekend and that is homemade potato salad.

When the family meets this weekend to hobnob and burn burgers, the family member assigned to bring the potato salad is likely going to walk in with a couple of gallon plastic buckets of yellowish muck bought at a convenience store, the price stickers still on them, and set them down on the table with no apology whatsoever.

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July 2, 2009