Every family has traditions they follow for certain times in their lives. It is one of the most comforting things about coming home. Some traditions aren’t even related to a holiday. For example: potato salad. We make potato salad every time we have a barbecue. It doesn’t matter if the meat being barbecued is chicken, steak, or hot dogs and hamburgers. If it’s cooked on the grill, we have potato salad. My only daughter likes to cook, thank goodness. So the recipe that was passed down to me from my mother and her mother before her, will, hopefully, continue to be fussed over by the newest generation. My daughter is only eleven years old, but she does her best to learn the skill of making potato salad because she knows that she can never have a barbecue if she doesn’t know how to make potato salad. However, because of her age and inexperience, we need to improvise on a few things. First, I have a special knife I use to peel the potatoes. But my daughter needs to use a short handled knife. If she didn’t there would be too much handle on the end of my knife which would cause a lever action and eventually the knife would lever just enough to fall out of her little hands. Since she has not gotten the hang of peeling over the table, the knife would fall and imbed itself into the floor… or worse, her foot. I’ll pass my special knife on to her when her fingers are longer and she has mastered the art of coordination. Spices are another story. While I just add spices indiscriminately: A little salt, a little pepper, etc., she will hold the shaker and make stabbing motions at the salad – once, twice, three times – and then look in the bowl to see if anything has changed. I’m not sure what she’s looking for, but she probably saw a chef on TV do that once and thinks that’s simply what you have to do. I ought to determine the exact measurements for the spices, but that’s not the tradition. The tradition is shake, stir, taste… shake, stir, taste. You have to make a lot more salad than you actually need because of all the tasting going on. My husband likes to get in on that step. It’s traditional. Stirring is another challenge for my daughter. As with the knife issue, physics plays an important role here as well. You must wield a long-handled spoon as if you were stirring a witch’s brew, bringing the bottom of the salad to the top and the top of the salad to the bottom. My daughter, however, insists on using the spoon like a catapult. She’ll push the spoon deep into the salad and because she isn’t tall enough to stir to the top, she’ll use the side of the bowl for leverage. As a result, she showers my kitchen with potato salad at least once a month. I have, inadvertently, been caught in the strike zone once or twice. However, I’ve heard that mayonnaise is good for your complexion. We both enjoy the experience so I don’t think we’ll need to worry about the potato salad tradition dying out as long as my daughter has a daughter some day. Some traditions are usually founded by unintended events. So who knows? Catapulting potato salad on Barbecue Day might become a new tradition.