What is the correct spelling for “potato salad”?

Introduction: The Spelling Conundrum

Potato salad is a classic dish that has been enjoyed by people all around the world for centuries. However, when it comes to spelling the name of this tasty side dish, there seems to be some confusion. Some people spell it as "potato salad," while others spell it as "potatoe salad." This discrepancy has caused a great deal of debate among language experts and food enthusiasts alike, with both sides making compelling arguments for their preferred spelling.

The History of Potato Salad

The origins of potato salad can be traced back to Germany, where it was known as "kartoffelsalat." Over time, the dish spread throughout Europe and eventually made its way to America, where it became a popular side dish. In its most basic form, potato salad consists of boiled potatoes, mayonnaise, and various seasonings. However, there are countless variations of the recipe, with different regions and cultures adding their own unique twists.

Regional Differences in Potato Salad

Potato salad is a dish that is enjoyed all around the world, and as such, there are many different regional variations. For example, in Germany, potato salad is often served warm and includes bacon, onions, and a vinegar dressing. In the Southern United States, potato salad is typically made with mustard, pickles, and hard-boiled eggs. In Japan, potato salad is often served in sandwich form, with shredded carrots and cucumbers mixed in.

The Origins of the Spelling Dispute

The spelling dispute over potato salad can be traced back to a famous incident in 1992, when then-Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled the word "potato" during a spelling bee at an elementary school. Quayle added an unnecessary "e" to the end of the word, leading to widespread ridicule and criticism. Since then, people have been extra cautious when it comes to spelling anything related to potatoes.

The Webster’s Dictionary Ruling

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the correct spelling of potato salad is without the extra "e." This ruling is based on the fact that "potato" is spelled without an "e," and since "salad" is a separate word, it should not be affected by the spelling of "potato."

The AP Stylebook Recommendation

The Associated Press Stylebook, which is widely used by journalists and other writers, also recommends spelling potato salad without the extra "e." According to the AP, "potato" is a singular noun and should not be pluralized by adding an "e" at the end.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s Take

The Oxford English Dictionary, which is considered the authority on English language usage, also spells potato salad without the extra "e." The OED cites the Webster’s Dictionary ruling as its primary source for this spelling.

Other Authorities’ Stances on the Spelling

Most language experts and food authorities agree that the correct spelling of potato salad is without the extra "e." However, there are still some who argue that the extra "e" is acceptable, particularly in informal contexts. Ultimately, the spelling of potato salad comes down to personal preference and the context in which it is being used.

Conclusion: The Final Verdict on Potato Salad

After considering all of the evidence, it seems clear that the correct spelling of potato salad is without the extra "e." This ruling is supported by Webster’s Dictionary, the AP Stylebook, and the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as by most language experts and food authorities. However, as with any language rule, there are always exceptions and variations.

Bonus: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Spelling Potato Salad

When spelling potato salad, be sure to avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Adding an extra "e" to the end of "potato"
  • Spelling "salad" as "sallad"
  • Capitalizing "potato" or "salad" unnecessarily
  • Using a hyphen in "potato-salad" (unless it is being used as an adjective)
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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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