I’ve loved magazines for as long as I can remember. Lately I’ve come to think of it more as a mild obsession—I’ve read them pressed against a stranger’s neck on the subway, crumpled in my tent at 11,000 ft., balanced precariously on the rim of the bathtub, and flat across my knees in crowded lecture halls. My choice of titles has been equally varied: when I went through every little girl’s requisite horse phase I acquired a series of pen pals through Young Rider, in middle school I made collages from my copies of National Geographic, and my dorm room in New York was filled with old stacks of Wired, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, The New Yorker, and Women’s Fitness.
My favorite magazines, though, were always the food ones. In high school I would get up half an hour early to sit at the kitchen table reading Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine, perusing the feature spreads and dog-earing any recipes that looked promising. Ruth Reichl was my idol, and it was a secret dream of mine to work for Gourmet at the Conde Nast building in New York. In retrospect that dream was probably a large part of why I went to college in New York to begin with, and the fact that Gourmet folded my junior year is probably a large part of why I’m not still there.
The very first time I read a food magazine was a memorable occasion, if not for the circumstances then at least for the recipe I discovered. I was 11, on a trip with my family to spend the Fourth of July in Wisconsin, and my mother and I were wandering through an airport gift shop when the August issue of Bon Appetit caught our eye. The cover was commanded by close-up photo of blue cheese potato salad. I’d never had potato salad and I’d never read Bon Appetit, but it’s safe to say that two long and illustrious relationships began that day—one with the magazine and one with the potato salad I’ve since made countless times, twice in the past week. Today it’s safely bookmarked online in my epicurious.com recipe box, but when I’m home I still like to pull out our kitchen scrapbook, where pasted on a turquoise background is the same now faded page I read 11 years ago.
Potato Salad with Lemon and Blue Cheese
This version is adapted from the Bon Appetit recipe that can be found on epicurious.com, and as I discovered last week the quantities are easy to double (or triple, should you love cold potato salad as much as I do).
3 lbs small potatoes, quartered
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red onions, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon zest (plus juice from zested lemon)
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
In a large pot, boil potatoes until tender but not quite falling apart. Whisk together the remaining ingredients (except for the blue cheese) to make a dressing that should look nice and thick, and pour over drained potatoes while they are still warm. Add crumbled blue cheese and toss gently (a little mashing of the potatoes is fine). Cover and refrigerate and serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.