Holiday Cook-off

Ms. Lange’s Potato Salad

I am not a chef. In fact, I wouldn’t even qualify myself as a cook.

In a past article, I proposed that everyone should have a handful of basic recipes that they can rely on. As someone who breaks out in a cold sweat at the thought of following a recipe in a timely manner, I am one of those people who needs basic – and I mean basic – recipes. If I don’t read a recipe at least 15 times prior to cooking, something that should take 10 minutes will most definitely take an hour.

Ok so you get it, right? I’m not great at cooking.

I should be, though.

Most people develop their cooking skills from family, shadowing their parents and grandparents in the kitchen and cutting their teeth on recipes passed down through generations. My story wasn’t any different. I sat in the kitchen during every holiday and family gathering, watching my grandmother and all of my aunties cook the dishes that I now associate with comfort and affection. Dishes like Filé Gumbo and Pecan Pie and Crab Soup.

For as much as I witnessed all of this cooking and baking and memory-making, I should be a James Beard Award-Winning chef.

And I’m not exaggerating – my grandmother’s sister, who learned the same family recipes from the same matriarch, is a James Beard Award-Winning chef. That’s right, my aunt was such an influential chef, she inspired the creation of a Disney Princess. She was Tiana. 

Basically, I’m saying I have no excuse. I should be able to do all of this, but for whatever reason, I’ve never felt as comfortable in the kitchen as I would like to. This is why my grandmother’s (or more accurately, my great-grandmother’s) potato salad recipe is so important to me. 

I learned how to make this recipe for two reasons: because I hate every other potato salad I’ve ever tried and because it’s so incredibly simple. It’s simple, but still delicious and makes me feel close to my family every time I make it and share it with others. Also, it makes the others that I share it with think I can cook. Next time you have a potluck or dinner party, whip up a batch of this potato salad and watch as your friends’ eyes light up. You can thank me later.

Ms. Lange’s Potato Salad


Serving Size 8

8 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

2 cups Mayonnaise

¼ cup Green onions, chopped 

¼ cup Parsley, chopped



Step One: Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. The general rule of thumb is to include one potato and one egg per serving. This recipe calls for eight, but if you’re only cooking for six people, use six potatoes and six eggs. Likewise, if you’re feeding an entire baseball team, maybe buy a whole bag of potatoes. You will most likely have leftovers, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Next, you’ll put the potatoes in a big pot, fill it with water about an inch higher than the potatoes, bring it to a boil and let them cook for about 15-20 minutes or until they are soft all the way through. Then drain the potatoes and let them cool. In the past, I’ve cooked the potatoes before I’ve cut them, but I’ve found that you get a more even cook if all the potatoes are cut to the same size. Besides, they call that game “Hot Potato” for a reason.

Step Two: Hard boil the eggs. I’ve read so many different instructions on how to hard boil eggs and I’m sure I do it a different way each time. I’ve done it on the stove, in an Instant Pot, I’ve even seen instructions on how to do it in the oven. It doesn’t matter much how you do it, but if you’re like me and always have to look it up, here you go: put the eggs in a pot, fill it with water about an inch higher than the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, then take it off the heat, cover it and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes. After that, put the eggs in a bowl of ice water and let them sit for another 10-15 minutes, or until they’re cool. When they’re cool enough to touch, peel them and dice them into sections about one centimeter wide. 

Step Three: Mix it all together! Stir the eggs and potatoes all together with the mayo, adding in the diced parsley and green onions as you go. If you’re not a fan of mayo you can use less. If you love it like I do, add in as much as you want! Season with salt and pepper to taste, let it chill out in the fridge for a bit, and you’re good to go!

Culture & Student Life

Adulting 101

Leaving home and being on your own for the first time can be a lot. There are a lot of new things you’re suddenly responsible for. It can feel weird having to pay bills and remember to schedule your own dentist appointments if those aren’t things you’ve had to do for yourself before. You might be wondering when that kind of stuff will feel like second nature, when you’ll actually feel like an adult. Maybe when you graduate from college or when you get your first real job. Maybe when you turn 21 – or 25 – or 30 you’ll finally feel like an adult and not an imposter who breaks out in a sweat every time you have to talk to someone on the phone. I don’t know what that magic number is, but until you reach it here are some tips to help you get there!

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

Start Saving Money

You might still be years away from a 401K, but it’s never too early to start saving for a rainy day. Just getting in the habit of putting fractions of your paycheck into a savings account or rounding each bill up to the nearest dollar and putting that change in a jar can add up. What you do with the money is up to you! An emergency fund is very important to have, you never know when your car is going to need a new battery! Likewise, your favorite band might be doing a once-in-a-lifetime show nearby and you’d be kicking yourself for twenty years if you missed it. Your whole life is going to be a tug of war between spending money on things you want and saving money for things you’re going to need, but the best way to walk that tightrope responsibly is to start putting the money away early. The earlier you do it, the easier it will be to put away increasingly larger amounts of money without drastically changing your budget.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do Laundry Once A Week

Whether you have a washer and dryer where you live or you lug your duds all the way to the laundromat, having a specific laundry schedule can benefit you in the long run. Doing small, manageable loads once a week is so much easier than hauling twenty pounds of clothes and bedding to the laundromat. Besides, you should be changing your bedsheets once a week anyway. Bonus tip: have at least two sets of sheets that you can alternate between.

Photo by Wesley Hilario on Unsplash

Call Your Grandma

She misses you, and she’s probably not on Instagram so she’s harder to keep in touch with than your high school friends.

Photo by Nathan Shurr on Unsplash

Buy Your Furniture Second-Hand

It’s super easy to go to Target or Walmart and furnish your new apartment or dorm with fun and trendy furniture, but those pieces are a dime a dozen, and their costs add up. You can check on sites like Offer Up or Facebook Marketplace and find people selling used versions of those same bookshelves and desks in varying states of wear. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it to save the money or stick with something brand new, but seeing how well these products age should give you insight one way or the other. My best advice, though, is to skip the MDF altogether and look for used furniture that’s made from real wood. It might cost you a little more upfront, but it’ll last you a lot longer.

Photo by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

Learn To Cook

Knowing how to cook doesn’t have to mean anything as daunting as cooking a turkey or baking bread from scratch. There are ways to keep it simple and still make things more exciting than top ramen (or to make your top ramen more exciting). Start by learning from your parents or grandparents. If there’s a dish that you grew up with, ask them if you can help make it next time you’re home. Meal kits like Every Plate (who offer a student discount) and Dinnerly don’t just take the guesswork out of cooking but teach you fundamentals along the way. After a few months you’ll be able to mimic the recipes you’ve learned and get experimental, substituting ingredients and making new meals entirely. When you learn simple recipes that you can keep revisiting and reinventing, you won’t be overwhelmed by the idea of making dinner every night.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Bonus Tip: Have extra smoke detector batteries on hand. Always.

Smoke detector batteries always go off at the most inconvenient time, which is usually in the middle of the night. If you have more than one in your house, they will without a doubt die within a couple days of each other. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have extra batteries and something safe to stand on so that you can reach the ceiling (i.e. not a swiveling chair). When you wake up to incessant beeping at 3:00 AM the morning of your midterms, you’ll be glad you did.