Potato Salad, Buttermilk Berry Cake, Grad Gift

Good morning! I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. We got great news on Saturday: Bean is going to be just fine! Thank you again to everyone who sent good puppy energy her way. In other news, Andy and I got antibody tests (don’t have results yet) after hearing a local hospital had easy-to-book appointments; We started the Chicago Bulls documentary (ABC is now airing two episodes at a time on Saturday nights) and fired up the grill for a Memorial Day barbecue. And if the calendar didn’t say “summer is coming,” today’s recipes definitely will. Here is your daily PPP…

Project: German Potato Salad

This one goes out to all the potato salad lovers who prefer vinegary to creamy. It’s a recipe from my last book and you’ll notice has quite a bit of bacon in it. If you are avoiding meat, it still works it you omit the pork fat, but do not omit the sugar. The sweet-and-sour here is what makes this one special, in my opinion. Also, if you are avoiding meat, you might want to omit the burgers, which is what we served our potatoes with.

3 pounds small firm potatoes (red, white, Yukon gold) peeled, and quartered
5 bacon slices, chopped roughly
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped (about ¼ cup)

Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with generously salted water. Boil gently, until a knife slides through potatoes easily, about 15 minutes. While potatoes are boiling, fry bacon in a skillet until cooked. Drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Crumble bacon. Add grease to a large bowl and let cool. Whisk in vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper, then olive oil. When potatoes have finished cooking, drain, then toss in the large bowl allowing the warm potatoes to absorb the dressing. Add bacon crumbles, dill, and scallions, and toss to combine.

Pantry: Buttermilk-Berry Cake

This beautiful little one-bowl cake was the result of the usual fridge panic: Got some buttermilk, Got some about-to-go-rotten berries. What now? While I was out running on Saturday morning, I texted the recipe link to our family group chat with the message “Who wants to make this for me today?” When I got home, it was in the oven. Maybe that’s why it tasted twice as good as usual?

Purpose: How to Be a Person

I realize DALS is in danger of turning into Catherine Newman A Love Story, but please just direct the blame towards her for relentlessly churning out books I want to read and advice on how I want to live. (Remember her Yay it’s Wednesday Cake!?) Her latest, How to Be a Person, is an illustrated guide for kids, with charming tutorials on everything from the practical (how to empty a dishwasher, how to turn a 33-cent ramen packet into dinner) to the poetic (how to apologize, how to have a conversation). It’s flooded with Newman’s trademark wit and charm and it would be just right for the nearly-adult kid in your life who is preparing to go off on his or her own — whether that’s college or real life.

Stay safe.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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I LOVE Catherine Newman – remember Wondertime magazine? – and pre-ordered this book.

FYI, that’s my FAVORITE easy cake – I’ve made it with every kind of fruit imaginable (peaches, blueberries, etc.). ALWAYS include lemon zest!


Loved Wondertime. I was working at Cookie Magazine at the time and we always read Wondertime for story inspiration.


Hi Jenny! I just want to say your PPP series has been a bright spot during this crazy time. I have been visiting everyday to see what you are cooking 🙂 We are definitely going to try that red wine and leek salmon soon! And that raspberry buttermilk cake–we’ve loved it for years. Definitely belongs on your “perfect recipe” list from CoJ a few weeks back 🙂

Just curious–we live here in the rivertowns as well. Did you get your antibodies test at St. John’s or WPH? I’d love to get one as well. xo


Glad you are enjoying the series Lucy. We had our antibodies test at Phelps Memorial in Tarrytown. Just call the main number and they can send you to the right place.


Hi Jenny,
I’m curious about the antibody test. Can you speak to why that would be beneficial information to have? Thanks so much.


The state of testing is still far from being 100% reliable, but as I understand it, if you test positive for the virus antibodies, it means you’ve been exposed to the virus and have recovered and, in theory, are immune from contracting it in the future. (This could even be true of people who were exposed and asymptomatic.) If we could count on the results being accurate (different tests have different accuracy levels), this would have an impact on the way people start to re-enter society. (Also note: The antibody test is different than the diagnostic test, which tells you if you currently have the virus.)
For more, I suggest listening to this episode of the Daily, which breaks it down nicely. (Although it’s almost a month old, and things are moving so fast, it might already be dated.) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/podcasts/the-daily/coronavirus-testing.html
Hope this helps. If there are any professionals out there who can weigh in with better information/insight, please feel free…

Mom of Boys

You know, one of the best things about your blog is that you show all of us readers that you are human. You have tough days and you have good days. Today, there is a spring in your words, and I’m happy for you. Fingers crossed the antibody test shows positive and that you are done with COVID-19.


I second ALL of what “Mom of Boys” posted. And I’m so glad that Bean is OK! Hooray!


Thanks so much for writing these every day. I really look forward to them. 🙂