Potato salad reaches new heights

How a recipe on an online funding platform went virally delicious

Arne Petryshen

The quest to make a potato salad has struck an apparent chord with the internet. Zack “Danger” Brown just wanted to raise $10 on Kickstarter to make the salad.

Kickstarter is an online funding platform for creative projects.

The modest goal that the Ohio resident had, however, has been thoroughly eclipsed. At time of writing, funding for the project was around $40,000. That’s after only a week online, with 23 days still to go.

“Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet,” wrote Brown in the pitch.

Though the campaign originally had the more modest goal, as the pledged fund rose so too did the lofty goals. At $35 Brown said he’d make quadruple the amount of potato salad.

“I know $35 isn’t 4 x $10, but you guys have earned it,” he wrote.

At $75 he planned a pizza party, and at $100 he decided he would try two different potato salad recipes.

But the money kept coming in, so Brown made some stretch goals — better mayonnaise at $250, putting in a call to a chef for a better recipe at $300, and making “way more potato salad” as well as trying a third recipe at the $350 mark.

Unfortunately for Brown, that wasn’t the end of having to update his goals to new lofty heights. At the $1,000 mark he decided he would do a live stream of the making of the potato salad. At $1,200 he would pay someone to film a thank-you video for all those who pledged for the salad-making cause.

As the funds reached $1,500, he doubled the number.

“We’re really tearing through these stretch goals. I honestly don’t know what is realistic anymore,” he wrote. But it didn’t take long to pass the $3,000 mark. At that number, he announced that his kitchen is just too small, and said he would rent out a party hall and invite the whole internet to a potato salad party.

“The internet loves potato salad! Let’s show them that potato salad loves the internet!”

The internet does seem to love potato salad, or maybe it loves a good sell.

Backing the salad does seem to have its rewards. For just $3 in funds Brown promises a bite of the potato salad. That promise is for all backers over $3, of which there are over 1,100. So it sounds like there will be some complicated logistics involved in figuring out the feasibly of sending out that many bites of potato salad.

For a $10 pledge, you can hang out in the kitchen with Brown as he makes the potato salad. Now again, I can’t imagine the logistics of having the 800-plus people who pledged over $10 in one building, let alone one kitchen.

So far the potato salad goal has raised 4,000 times its original goal.

The most successful Kickstarter campaign so far has been the Pebble E-Paper Watch, which was aiming for $100,000, but ended up raising over $10 million. There was also the OUYA game console which raised $8.6 million, initially setting out to raise $950,000.

Who knows where the lofty goals of Zack Brown could take this potato salad blockbuster. Perhaps Brown should just start a potato salad-making business — there seems to be a big market for it. After all, people are choosing to put money towards what essentially began as helping someone finance their own lunch.

On the other side of the ocean, someone in the UK is trying to make “the best damn sandwich in town,” but despite the promise of Sheffield’s best sandwich, the fundraiser has not solicited any funds.

Of course the sandwich doesn’t look much different than one you’d buy from a convenience store.

It would seem that there’s something beyond a simple potato salad here. Maybe it’s a potato related conspiracy, or maybe one that has nothing to do with potatoes. Whatever the case, a large collective body of the internet has stepped behind the potato salad fundraiser and sent a picnic side dish to new heights.

Arne Petryshen is a reporter at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman.