Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

by Tawny

It's Labor Day here in the U.S.! Woot and happy celebrating to all who are, you know, celebrating.

Since I knew I would be chatting with you all today, and since I knew my brain would be a little fried from a super-busy weekend, over the last few days I asked everyone I talked to this question:

What's the first thing that come to mind when you hear Labor Day?

And these were the answers I got:

The end of summer.

No wearing white (tough tootles if you're getting married, eh?).



Yard work.

Three-day weekend.

Having a baby, and taking all day to do it! (this was my daughter's answer. Ack.)

Back to school.

All good answers! Well, except maybe the giving birth answer. And while I *knew* that Labor Day was a day to celebrate the working people everywhere, I realized I was clueless about what it's actual purpose and origin were. According to the always-accurate (ahaha) Wikipedia, Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 in response to an agreement between the government and the labor unions.

Huh, I had no clue. And now I know. But the first thing that comes to mind when I hear Labor Day? I think potato salad.

I always end up making my deliciously favorite potato salad for this holiday. Red potatoes and red onion, hard boiled egg and sweet pickles, Miracle Whip, mustard, celery seed and salt and pepper. It's so simple and so amazingly wonderful.

So here's my holiday question for you...

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Labor Day?

And my second question is this...

Do you have a favorite potato salad recipe? Care to share?


Sheree said...

Long weekend! Woohoo!

Sheree said...

But I don't make potato salad. That wasn't a dish my mother made; we just buy it at the local market.

I did make it once because I had extra baked potatoes. With enough spices (even without paprika), people seemed to like it.

Daz said...

Happy Labor Day!!!

Whenever I think I Labor Day (besides "hooray it's a holiday"), I think, don't wear white. I don't actually know why "don't wear white" but I know it and I think it. I should probably google and find out why.

As to the potato salad, I don't have a recipe for one. Not a fan of the potato (all those carbs!) but I do make a mean truffle mashed potato.

Sonali said...

Happy Labour Day to everyone in the U.S.

Hmmm potato salad? Well i love the ones that my mum makes. I have tried the ones from the deli's but i prefer the type that my mum makes. It's the basic sort but it absolutely yum.

marybelle said...

Labour Day here in Australia is political type parades, & a holiday. NOTHING is open. Don't upset the unions.

I have never liked potato salad, but others rave about my Mother's.

Kim in Hawaii said...

I grew up in Florida so the first thing I think of .... will there be a hurricane?!?!

I love potato salad but I just eat it (no recipe).

PJ said...

Growing up, Labor Day meant the end of summer and the emptying out of my neighborhood. We lived on a lake where 90% of the houses on our street were summer cottages. Labor Day evening, they all packed up and went back to Chicago for the winter and bright and early the next morning we all went back to school.

Now that I live in the South and have returned to work (retail), it's just another Monday. School has been back in session for a few weeks now and I'm working so no holiday for me.

I love potato salad!

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Sheree.

Hi Tawny,
Happy Labor Day. Labor Day makes me think of school. We always started school after Labor Day.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, Tawny, your potato salad sounds delish.

I'm kinda like Sonali in that I loved the one my Mama made and there was no "recipe."

I think my mother kept all those "common" recipes in her head because as far as my Sis and I have been able to tell, she never wrote them down.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Urk! Hit a button and it sent!

Meant to also say that it was very UNcommon potato salad. DElish.

And Sheree, congrats on nabbing the non-laboring chook.

Tawny that whole origin of Labor Day thing is pretty interesting, isn't it?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Did I answer the question? Ohhh no. I had to natter on about potato salad. (Hungry. No breakfast yet. Grins)

Labor Day makes me think about the pool closing, which I guess would fall under End of Summer.

Oh, and the wear white thing. Wonder who came up with that social niceity. We'll see if Daz Googles it.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Uhm, Tawny apparently me and a number of women in North Texas agree with your daughter, except for the allllllll day part. I worked last night, and the patients kept coming and delivering fairly quickly.

For over 30 years, Labor Day has ALWAYS meant to me, women having babies on the most appropriate day of the year!

Anna Sugden said...

Happy Labor Day to all in the US. We had our end of summer Bank Holiday last weekend, which is the nearest equivalent.

I always think of Labor Day as the last day of summer. Literally the next day, the weather seems to change to fall. It also makes me think of barbecues. I learned how to make my famous burgers at a Labour Day BBQ when I was younger.

I LOVE potato salad - it's that whole savoury thing I have going. But my recipe isn't as fancy as yours, Tawny! I use new potatoes or red potatoes, melted butter, low fat mayo, Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard and chopped flat leaf parsley. Occasionally I add in chopped spring onions (scallions) or shallots.

Deb said...

First thing that pops in my head: NO SCHOOL! Note: teachers love days off, too....probably more than the kids.

We'll grill burgers tonight. My daughter is going to the zoo with friends this afternoon and I should probably mow lawn and finish up checking reading/comp assessments. (SHOULD is the key word here.)

Potato salad...not much help here because I just mix it altogether, no real recipe. Basic boiled eggs, mayo, salt, sugar, potatoes, mustard, celery, onions, and horseradish for zest.

jo robertson said...

Very appropriate blog for us Yanks, Tawny.

Our family just had this conversation yesterday and it was Dr. Big (of course!) who knew that the holiday originated with the labor unions. I find it highly ironic because I never "labor" on Labor Day! Come on, it's for having fun.

I associate family picnics, barbecues, great food, and a last trip to the lake or river with the holiday.

As a young mother, I always LOVED that it meant the end of summer and the kids going back to school! Yay!! Now they start school in August around here. Crazy!

Caren Crane said...

Labor Day means a Monday off from work for me! Also, we have a time share in Hilton Head on the old weeks system. The week after Labor Day (week 36) is our week down there!

This worked out great when the kids were in year-round school, because they were always tracked out from Labor Day until around the end of September. It's a great time to go on vacation!

Since the girls have been in high school, though, we've been on the dreaded traditional calendar. We all hate it! My husband and I are looking forward to the graduation of our "baby" this year only because it means we can go to Hilton Head on "our" week. With friends!

Barbara E. said...

When I hear Labor Day, I think end of summer. That's what it always meant to me because when I was in school we went back to school immediately after Labor Day.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Tawny,

1. It's always been about unions in my
mind & I think I got that idea from my
well-read Daddy. (P.S. I'm from Texas
and we always call our parents "Momma"
& "Daddy," no matter our age!)

2. My Momma's potato salad recipe, my
favorite in the whole wide world, uses
quite similar ingredients to those you
list. She never used mustard, did use pimientos, chopped celery (especially
the leaves), and diced pickles with
several spoons of the "pickle juice."
I can taste that potato salad now!
Guess what I'll be making soon!

3. As a child, Labor Day was the last
day of freedom! We always started back
to school on the day after!!

Pat Cochran

Tawny said...

LOL Sheree! Lets hear it for long weekends! And, in your case, long weekends celebrated with a Rooster. Congrats on nabbing him - I hope he behaves today :-)

Tawny said...

Mmm, paprika :-) I love adding that to dishes, Sheree, but hadn't thought about putting it in this salad. I might have to try.

I love how you say 'my dish'. Thats what this ended up being for me. I made it once, my MIL loved it. Then it became my "will you bring..." dish to all barbeques, events, pot lucks. LOL - after 3 years, I had had enough and had to find a new dish to bring.

But I still love it. I just love making it in non-vat sized quantities now LOL.

Tawny said...

LOL Daz, isn't that funny that so many of us have the whole 'no white after Labor Day' mantra stuck in our heads, yet we don't know why.

OMG the truffle mashed potatoes sounds yummy. You can share that recipe if you want :-D

Tawny said...

Sonali, I'm with you. Mom's make everything better LOL. Potato salad wasn't one of my mom's dishes (she makes the most amazing lasagna, though. And her German Chocolate cake? To die for!) so I had to find my own.

Tawny said...

Hi Marybelle :-)

It sounds like the holiday has the same origin, but in Australia you've stuck closer to it's meaning than we have in America.

All the stores are open here today - it's the killer sales day LOL.

Tawny said...

Kim, living in California, I so often get comments about how nervous it must be to live in earthquake country.

Um, no. I never know they are coming. Hurricane country means knowing and preparing and the weather getting it's very own season. Yikes!! That'd scare me to pieces.

It sounds like you've always lived in warm weather, though. Florida, Hawaii? Any snow living?

Tawny said...

PJ, that must have been so awesome to live on a lake - and to have it clear out in Sept :-) Summer friends, then rest-of-the-year peace.

Working retail- isn't today crazy? There are so many Labor Day sales going on here, I'd hate to be behind a register right now :-P

Helen said...

Well done Sheree have fun with him


First thing that comes to my mind a long weekend LOL we actually will be having our labour day on October 3 this year. Labour day is celebrated on different days in the different states here in Oz but NSW always celebrated ours on the first Monday in October so I am actually having a 4 day weekend YAY.

Love potato salad as well and I make a fairly plan but tasty one boil cubed potato chop onions and parsley then mix altogether with mayonaise yummo.

Have a great Labour Day everyone

Have Fun

Donna MacMeans said...

Tawny - I'm sitting here in my white shorts. The temperatures plummeted in celebration of Labor Day (guess the sun didn't want to work that hard on a holiday), so I'm wondering if I should switch to jeans.

I think of food on the grill and eating on the back porch when I think of Labor Day. Don't think we'll be on the porch today, but we will be eating way too much. My potato salad recipe is much like yours, except I use real mayonnaise, diced celery and radishes in mine. I think it's the sweet pickles, though, that truly makes the potato salad great.

Anna Campbell said...

Swinging by late to wish all my American friends a happy Labor Day. We celebrate with the Russians on 1st May. At least in Queensland where I live. It's one of those public holidays that tends to have a different date in every state. In New South Wales, where I used to live, it was in October and it celebrated the legislation bringing in the eight-hour work day.

Tawny said...

Hi Jane :-) We always started after Labor Day, too. This year my daughter shifted to a year-round schedule, though, so we're a good month into the school year. I miss the Labor Day whining LOL

Tawny said...

Jeanne, aren't those the best recipes? I'm trying to put all my recipes on cards for my daughter right now and am actually having to make the dish and measure to remember what and how much LOL.

Tawny said...

Mmmm, UNcommon potato salad. That sounds so fun, Jeanne :-D

Labor Day was fun to look up. Now you inspired me to look up the No White thing...

Aha... it started with no white shoes, then expanded (as all good things do *G*) In the good ole days, wearing white showed class distinction (only the rich could afford it). Some sources say it has to do with the heat, and white reflecting the sun while dark colors keep you warmer.


Tawny said...


That's so funny that it really IS labor day for a lot of women!

Is there some special celebration that you hold for women doing the baby thing on this holiday?

Tawny said...

The thermostat does take a downward turn in September, doesn't it.

So you make famous burgers, huh? What's the secret (c'mon, I won't tell *ggg*)

Your potato salad sounds so good. I love the mustards.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Tawny said: Jeanne, aren't those the best recipes? I'm trying to put all my recipes on cards for my daughter right now and am actually having to make the dish and measure to remember what and how much LOL.

This is wonderful, Tawny! She'll love them, I know. After my Mama passed, my sister took Mama's battered, fountain-pen-inscribed recipe book and made copies for me and my brothers. That's been one of my treasures.

You know how people ask what would you grab if you knew you had only seconds to leave the house? My kids, the dogs, the photos and that recipe book. :> (The DH is on his own! Hahahah!)

Tawny said...

Oh, Deb, I hear ya on the loving of a day off. We homeschool, so any free day is welcome here! But even on a day off, you have those SHOULDS, huh?

I hope you enjoy the barbeque and relaxation after you're done mowing your lawn :-)

Ooh, I never thought about adding horseradish to the potato salad. Great idea.

Tawny said...

LOL Jo - no labor on Labor Day, indeed *G*

I love your associations with Labor Day. They all bring such fun, happy images to mind.

Tawny said...

Whoohooooo for time off work, Caren :-) And for the fun of getting back to Hilton Head. Right there is a lovely silver lining to having your last baby graduate, right?!

Tawny said...

Barbara, it's a great marker for the end of summer and back to school, isn't it?! I always think of summer as being bracketed b Memorial Day and Labor Day. Then the schools started squishing into my June and August :-P

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Is there some special celebration that you hold for women doing the baby thing on this holiday?

Nope. Just congratulate them on being very holiday appropriate as we hand them their babies! LOL

Tawny said...

Ack, sorry to disappear everyone. Apparently Labor Day also means unexpected family dropping in and staying for hours and an unplanned dinner.


Tawny said...

LOL Pat, I'll admit, I'm not from Texas and I do still call my mother Momma. I only call my father daddy, though, when it's combined with O. You know, Daddy-o *G*

Mmm, your momma's potato salad sounds good. I do toss celery in from time to time, depending on the mood. I forgot that LOL. So? Did you have potato salad today?

Tawny said...

Oh wow, Helen. A 4 day weekend sounds glorious! I'll bet it's a wonderful break, too.

Your potato salad sounds lovely. I'm a fan of simple :-)

Tawny said...

Did you switch to jeans, Donna? I think the hardest part of the change from summer to autumn is our poor thin-blooded bodies adjusting LOL. Its rarely really cold here, but I shiver more in September than I do in January.

I hope you had lots of wonderful over eating deliciousness today ;-) even if it wasn't on the porch.

Tawny said...

Oh - Donna, I forgot to say I've ever seen radishes in potato salad. What a great addition!

Tawny said...

Anna, it sounds like your Labor Day in New South Wales is similar to ours - the work day, worker rights type of celebration.

Did you celebrate, or do you in May, with any of these ideas or do you have other traditions?

Tawny said...

Jeanne said: You know how people ask what would you grab if you knew you had only seconds to leave the house? My kids, the dogs, the photos and that recipe book. :> (The DH is on his own! Hahahah!)

RoFL - Oh yeah, my list is about the same. Except I have all my photos (not my scrapbooks, though) on my harddrive, so I'd grab that. Hmm, it has all my books on it too, and if I were smart, I'd save all the recipes there, too.

Thanks for the great idea!

Tawny said...

LOL Suz! Well, hey, a new baby is a great reward for laboring on labor day.

Anna Campbell said...

Labour Day all over Australia is the same as yours, Tawny. You know, workers rights and stuff. Most people take it as a chance to have a day off and enjoy the last warm long weekend before winter sets in.