If you've ever made potato salad, then you know that it's not as simple as spreading butter on toast. While it's hardly a dish requiring expert cooking skills, it takes time to wash, then peel, then boil the potatoes, make sure they aren't watery, mix in just the right ingredients, which, depending on your recipe, can also take time to prepare, refrigerate, and so on and so forth.

Whether or not a good understanding of the time and effort involved in making potato salad would have made a difference, but one old man recently observed in a Japanese supermarket had a very strong opinion about it, one which arguably highlights the generation gap and perhaps even lingering stereotypes and insensitivity towards mothers and modern parenting in Japan.

His comments and the reaction of Twitter user Mistsubachi (@mitsu_bachi_bee) who witnessed it have gone viral since it was posted yesterday morning, garnering over 245,000 likes and 85,000 retweets at the time of writing.

"I was startled and turned around when I heard a voice say:

'If you're a mother, surely you can make such a trifling thing as potato salad by yourself?'

It was at the deli corner and I saw an old man and a mother with a baby in tow. The man made a quick exit, leaving the mother, head drooped down, holding the potato salad tray in her hand. I quickly took my daughter along and bought some potato salad right in front of her. "This is OK," I said silently while buying two trays."

Mitsubachi followed up that initial Tweet with a second one:

"I'm surprised at the response I'm getting... Thank you very much! It actually takes time to make potato salad. But even if it were something easy to make, I think he had no right to complain to a complete stranger like that."

Here are some of the more popular comments which the Tweet elicited:

  • The old man's probably never made potato salad and has no clue how it's made... The "trifling thing" part really makes me mad.
  • If it were me, I'd buy a whole bunch while saying to my kid: "Let's buy potato salad! It's really tough to make, so let's just buy some and spend that time we gained playing together!"
  • Being a mother and making potato salad are completely unrelated. I hope that woman doesn't recall those unkind words the next time she sees potato salad in the store. If she does, I hope it's your encouraging behavior, Mitsubachi-san, which stays in her memory...
  • So then, why was that man in the deli corner of the supermarket? 'If you're a man, surely you can do such a trifling thing as growing potatoes in the field?'
  • I get that you can make it tastier and to your liking at home, but to be honest, it takes time to make potato salad, and if both parents work, you can't make it on weekdays. Maybe that woman works. Someone who doesn't even know her situation should just shut up!
  • They were talking about potato salad on a news variety show the other day. Experts in home management and cooking were saying that it's actually time-consuming and not as cheap as you may think. Their conclusion was it was smarter to go and buy it in the store!
  • The old man probably lives alone or doesn't get along with the rest of his family and now has nobody left to lecture to...

A nice heaping bowl of supermarket-bought potato salad sounds good just about now. Who's with me?

By - Ben K.