In my mind, a nice classic PASTA SALAD serves one of two scenarios:
- Attending a picnic, potluck, or other end-of-summer-everyone-bring-something type party;
- Addressing the leftover meat, cheese, and vegetables in my fridge by tossing them together into a big bowl with cold pasta and dressing for dinner. Preferably a summer dinner. Or a summer midnight snack. I mean, was there ever really a better midnight snack than cold pasta salad?
That’s it. These are the only places pasta salad exists in my life.
But they are good and important places, especially that first one about the summer events that require a contribution to a community food table, and especially considering that here we are, at the end of summer! Wow. Time to cry into my pasta salad. How is already the end of summer?
Okay. Let’s clear some things up here. I live in Minnesota, home of the church basement potluck and “salads” made from jello and whipped cream and Snickers bars. I AM ZERO PERCENT KIDDING. I grew up on salads made from candy bars and fake dairy and loved every blessed second of it.
So when I think of pasta salad, even if the first image in my mind is some mayo-loaded retro bomb of deliciousness, I try to guide my mind to a vision of pasta salad that is more elevated. Pinkies-out style. You know, more classic and less mayo-y. A tiny bit retro, maybe, yes, just by default of being a “pasta salad” in our great state of Minnesota, but also something fresh and classic. Not modern – let’s not get too ambitious here. Just a quality classic pasta salad situation that you can be proud to bring to the party.