I have learned over the years, but never experienced this directly or even indirectly that potato salad is a "big deal" in the black community. Honestly, I don't recall eating it often at home unless it came along with a BBQ plate or as a side with fried chicken from Kroger's Deli.
Anyway, I felt a sense of embarrassment for the person who sprinkled raisins over potato salad as I wondered if they used Golden or Flame to accent the dish. I also wondered if the black communities' seemingly collective insult of a white person's potato salad prevents our children from exploring the world on their terms, and doing something that goes against the established norms in the black community.
As I grew older, I became aware of a list of things that I discovered are reserved solely for white people. With the exception of being told not to wash my hair daily, because only white people did that (which for me works perfectly well, thank you very much), I was not reared in a home or among family which labeled activities as white or black. However, at some point during my adolescence, as my network of black associates grew, so did my exposure to this belief. The list seemed and seems oppressive at worst and overly safe at best.
Life is an individual experience that should not follow the script created by someone who is afraid sky dive, scale a mountain or only use the "approved" ingredients in potato salad.
Two or three weeks ago as I gathered the ingredients to make pesto macaroni and cheese, I realized that we did not have any heavy cream. Instead of running to the market, I grabbed a container of plain whole milk yoghurt to use instead. As I spooned the yoghurt into the mixture of noodles, butter, cheese and pesto, I realized that earlier in the week I had added honey to the entire container to slightly sweeten the yoghurt as my young son often requested the combination for breakfast or lunch. I feared that my meal was ruined, as I speared a few noodles with a fork and raised it to my mouth. I expected to wrinkle my nose in distaste and to flinch as I swallowed. Instead, I experienced Umami. My taste buds awakened and cried out for more. My husband declared it the best he had ever eaten, and our family takes macaroni and cheese seriously.
If I were to share my recipe, I would become the laughing stock of black social media. Even admitting my mistake could place me in jeopardy of public ridicule, and actually, I am okay with that, because my oldest learned two important lessons that day, improvise when you can, and it is okay to add raisins to potato salad.