Krystina White introduces us to the secrets of her Polish mother's potato salad in the first of an occasional series of traditional Polish food.

THIS is my mother, Pelagia’s recipe and it was served on many family and festive occasions. Christmas Eve was a magical night in Polish households when family and friends shared a meatless meal together. They always left a place empty at the table for the coming of baby Jesus that Christians we were celebrating. This salad was always on the menu.

Mum and dad lived in Bradford where there was a large Polish community who settled in there after World War 11. We didn’t have relatives in England so family friends were special. The Poles of my parent’s generation were very gregarious and they entertained by putting on a huge spread and insisting that everyone eat MORE!

Mum never used written down recipes and so I must have learnt on the ‘hoof’ watching mum and dad busily chopping all the ingredients on our back room table. No fitted kitchen in our terrace only a cellar head space for the cooker. But this lack of facilities and comfort did not deter mum and dad and all their friends creating mountains of food for everyone to enjoy in similar situations.

I’ve continued making this salad in the same way she did and it’s always a favourite now on our family knees ups. In fact I’m making it this weekend for a get together.

However, for the first time ever I’ve broken a tradition and measured my ingredients to enable me to pass it on. Enjoy!


1 lb – 450g firm small potatoes – Charlotte are excellent

2 hard boiled eggs

4 oz. – 100g frozen peas, cooked and cooled

4 – 5 gherkins – to taste

1\2 a medium onion

A good quality mayonnaise

Chopped parsley


Boil the potatoes and allow to cool as they are firmer to cut and keep their shape better.

Do the same with the boiled eggs.

Dice the potatoes and the gherkins into small cubes. Chop the egg and onion into small pieces.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, egg, gherkin, onion and cooked peas together with enough mayonnaise to coat well. I would add at least 5 heaped large tablespoonfuls and then some more if I thought it looked too dry. Season with salt and ground pepper. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley. Enjoy a salad very different from those sold in tubs in supermarkets – “

Smacznego” the host would ‘toast’ and welcome their guests to the table. (In France you would say “Bon Appetite” but I’ve been racking my brains and we don’t seem to have an equivalent in England)