A while back I went to the funeral of an ex- girl-friend’s father — but that is not the reason for this essay.
After the ceremony and while chatting with the family members, a lady stepped up and introduced herself. We had never met but she is very well-known as being a key member of what I call a tap-root family for our (now) mid-size town. Turns out that she is close friends with my high school ex-girl friend. She is a “Pedroni” and her family is famous for a huge part of the food industry in Petaluma. Many books could be written. . .
I want to call out why meeting her gave me such joy. While I was in the womb, my mom worked a couple of doors away from a deli named, Pedroni’s, which carried their flagship recipe, Pedroni’s Potato Salad or PPS as devotees call it.
My mom developed a obsessive pregnancy-compulsion for it.
Over the years, it became extremely popular — so legendary that it remains today as a favorite side dish shared by (I predict) tens of thousands.
Mom kept working until I made it impossible, and joked how I had to be addicted because I was literally gestated in the stuff. It became a staple for our family and meals were always better with a big bowl of it in the center of the table.
Meeting Ms. Pedroni was like meeting the Nobel Laurette of Potato Salad. She assured me that the recipe is still a secret and that the original remains back home in her “substantial” safe.
The salad remains available today at a deli owned by relatives of the original family and remains popular despite costing way too much for anyone whose DNA has not been chemically altered to depend on it. If you’ve tried it – you understand.
If you don’t live nearby but ever make it through Petaluma, California, you need to stop by Lombardi’s Deli out on the north end of town (North Petaluma Blvd. at Corona Road) and pick up a bowl. Yes, it’s expensive – but so worth it, I mean how many salads have at least a 7-decade wake of potato salad groupies like me behind it. My advice is to buy more than you think you’ll need because, unless it’s just you and a 50-gallon drum of it, you’re going to want more than you thought wise.
If you’re new to Petaluma (and we know who you are) you need to taste and risk becoming addicted to this amazing salad. Now that I’ve told you where to get it, you are without excuse.
It was a huge pleasure to meet Ms. Pedroni, shake her hand and thank her for an addiction that stretches back 9 months longer than my legal age.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to make a PPS run myself. What? You no longer live in Petaluma and can’t just make a run for it — I’m so sorry for bringing it up and causing you such pain.