December 2, 2005

Potato Talk

Last night we had dinner out to celebrate Wendy's birthday. That's right. My woman is now officially a year older than she was the day before. Funny how that works.

She ordered first. An eleven ounce Delmonico, medium rare, garden salad with Thousand Island dressing on the side, a loaded baked potato and a vegetable medley.

Ah, the good old vegetable medley. Our server, when asked, said the medley consisted of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Oh, and carrots, he added as an afterthought. Wendy and I both made a face because neither of us has an appreciation for cooked carrots despite the nice splash of color they add to a plate. At least they don't taint the whole vegetable medley like green peppers taint whatever it is with which they are cooked. Cooked carrots are easily pushed aside, leaving not a trace of their ever having been a part of things.

I was still perusing the menu having trouble deciding what to eat. Then I did something I have never done before. I slapped the menu closed and told the waiter, "I'll have exactly what she's having." Boom. Decision made.

Wendy raised her eyebrows and said, "You want a loaded baked potato?" I just smiled and nodded. I'd never had a loaded baked potato before. Usually I eat them with just butter. I eat the skin too. It's the best part.

"What comes on a loaded potato anyway?" I queried.
Wendy said, "Butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon."

Our dinner was served. Wendy and I exchanged a quick high-five because not even one carrot from the medley found its way to either of our plates. As for the loaded potato, well, it was buried beneath a mountain of artery-hardening toppings. The combination of tastes and textures was interesting and not even slightly unpleasant.

We never eat baked potatoes at home. We rarely eat potatoes of any sort at home. The potato display is something I breeze right past at the grocery store. I have been known to serve instant mashed potatoes every now and again, but I never eat them myself because mashed potatoes are yucky.

Time for a survey of sorts. Let's talk potatoes, people. What is your favorite way to prepare them? What toppings do you prefer on your baked potato? Do you eat the skin? Do any other people deprive their families of the joy of mashed potatoes simply because they themselves do not like them? I know I can't be the only one.

Or can I?



Anonymous said...

My family is very strict Irish-Catholic and while my stand on abortion and feminism is cause for argument your non-potato eating would be the ultimate heresy. On Thanksgiving we made 20 pounds of mashed potatoes, we had 12 people and there were no leftovers. The potatoes were only one of the 34 (no exaggeration) side dishes to the turkey and ham.
I and everyone in my family have been known to eat just potatoes for dinner, lunch, maybe even breakfast.
Although we have a variety of recipes, my personal favorite is as follows:

2 lbs red potatoes
8 oz cream cheese
2 sticks butter
salt, pepper, white wine vinegar

Par-boil potatoes (with skin) after chopping and cleaning well. mash potatoes with cream cheese (tastes good and lets potatoes keep much longer and taste good keeping) and butter. Add salt, pepper and ww vinegar to taste.

This recipe also includes not mashing perfectly - chunks provide texture.

Alternate recipes include the same ingredients but involve no skin/no chunks.

My dad used to have coffee beans shipped to him from NY in the 70s because he loves it so (everyone thought he was strange - grinding his own coffee!) yet I would offer him instant coffee before I offered him instant mas... Instant ma...

I cant even say it.

Anonymous said...

And another thing! My son rarely eats any pork products simply because i dont so i know what you meant. And Happy Birthday Wendy!

PS Now Im absolutly dying to know what offensive thing someone couldve commented about potatoes lol.

Gina said...

I agree with Jen, there are really no bad ways to make a potato. I think probably french fries and qu gratin are probably my two favorite ways.

How about sweet potatoes? Have you ever bbq'd them, then added butter and brown sugar? Mmmmmm...

I would have to say the only thing that Mr. Personality does not get to eat much is fish, since I don't usually like to prepare fish around here. But, as you know, he doesn't each much anyway, so I don't think I am necessarily depriving him.

Anonymous said...

When I make mashed potatoes from scratch, I used Idaho potatoes, bake them, pull the potatoe out, refrigerate the skins to be eaten later with cheese and bacon cooked in them under the broiler and covered with sour cream. My daughter did introduce me to Betty Crocker's (my future wife) instant garlic mashed potatoes and they aren't too bad...think I'll have me some taters for dinner tonight!

Anonymous said...

You don't eat POTATOES in some form EVERY SINGLE DAY?

I'm really not sure we can be friends any more after this bit of information.


I'm traumatized.

Melodee said...

My boys adore mashed potatoes, so I make them every week, usually once or twice at the very least. I don't really like them mashed. I prefer a baked potato and I always eat the skin. I thought that was the law.

Career Guy said...

I love mashed potatoes. Kathy hates to peel them so I "offer". It's OK if she just leaves the skins on and smashes it all up together, but she says it's easier to peel them than wash them well enough. Baked is OK, but you better bake them all the way through-nothing worse than a not quite done baked potato. And no, that is not a "texture" I like to experience.

whispers said...

happy day Wendy!

potatoes are probably the worlds perfect food (i mention i am irish to explain the genetic link to that thought).

for winter holidays, 10lbs of potatoes into mashed potatoes is the norm for my family. middle child, daughter asks for potato soup as her birthday dinner. i have literally dozens of variations on a theme that are based in potatoes. I never shop without buying some kind of potatoes. The recent favorite is the Yukon Gold variety.

Partners family is not a big potato family. When our neice was old enough to know, she requested mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. I got nominated to provide them and did so happily (turkey day was really strange those few years without them)

Kirkkitsch said...

I love potatoes so much my friends call me Starchy McButterpants! It could happen!

I can't think of any way that I don't like them prepared: Chips, mashed, frenched, scalloped, baked, tot-ified, hashed, etc. And I have to concur wit Jen, no gravy on the mashed. I am soooo not a fan of gravy (Texas men have been known to be disowned for making that statement, but I'm a hellion!).

I'd have to say that baked is my favorite. I like mine with butter, sour cream and chives. Occasionally chives or "bacon" bits, but not always. And, personally, though I have seen it offered on those fancy-schmancy "loaded" baked potatoes of which you speak (What're you, rich? Hmph!), I've never had nor desired chili on a loaded baked potato. Let's not get crazy. In the immortal words of Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand: Enough is Enough!

Oh! Oh! And I almost forgot, I loooove me some boiled lil' red potatoes. And yes, I eat the skin. I f they are small enough, I use them whole or if they are bigger, I cut them up into bite-size pieces after I wash them. Here's what I do to them:

1- Clean/slice, put into a pot of salted water
2- Boil until soft (use the fork test), but not mushy
3- Drain water, add margarine/butter and some ranch dressing (to measurements here)
4- Stir over low heat
5- Inhale!

Mmmmm! Those be some tasty taters!

Bev Sykes said...

Yes on potatoes. Any potatoes. The more artery-hardeing agents you add, the better. When I'm eating "healthy" I mash with cauliflower (which is surprisingly not as yucky as it sounds), but baked and loaded with butter and cheese is good (yes on the skins--more chance for butter). Love mashed.

Got some good recipes here. I'll have to try that mashed with cream cheese. I don't have enough fat in my diet already.

Di said...

Mmmmm, I had some ultra-yummy potato and leek soup just tonight at the annual office Christmas party!

My preferred forms of potatoes include (but are not limited to) boiled new red potatoes with their "jackets" on (as my grandma would say), mashed with brown gravy, baked with butter and sour cream, McDonald's hash rounds and Steak 'n' Shake's fries (ketchup on the hash rounds and fries).

A said...

Skins, yes! I mean, if you're going to eat something that's 98% starch, you may as well eat the nutritious portion of it, no? But really, on a baked potato, I think the skin is the best part. Eat all the potato out first, then sprinkle some salt and pepper on the skin and eat. Yum.

I do love potatoes in just about any form. Baked, fried, roasted, mashed, made into soup. Sour cream and chives on the baked potoes if possible, but I'm happy with butter and salt and pepper. Mashed potatoes with sour cream, butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Or if you want to get crazy, reduce the amount of sour cream and add some butter that's been steeping in garlic. I may be a freak, but I really like mashed potatoes mixed up with peas.

Red potatoes rock when rubbed with coarse salt and pepper and roasted with rosemary and onions. MMMMM.

Lastly, I think what I love making most with potatoes is shepherd's pie.

Di, I think it's funny you mention potato 'jackets'.. as I'm reading a book that had this amusing line in it:

"Is it because I'm not wearing a jacket?" I asked the porter. OK, so I was being facetious. I knew full well that White's was a gentleman's club.

The porter gave me a supercilious once-over.

"Madam," he said, "Jackets are for potatoes, gentlemen wear coats and ladies are simply not welcome."

Bent Fabric said...

..."mashed potatoes are yucky."
That statement is wrong on so many levels. And it has nothing to do with the fact that they're my favorite. Mmm Mmm Good!

What is your favorite way to prepare them?
You, my dear, are laboring under the assumption that I have the faintest idea what to do in a kitchen. *lol* I prepare them by slopping them onto my plate after someone else has prepared them. hehe

weese said...

Happy Birthday Wendy.
french fries are my favorite comfort food (tho i hardly ever have them)
other than that i will eat potatoes any way they are presented.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a minimum daily requirement for potatoes? I'm sure there is... they are somewhere near the top of the food pyramid, right? Necessary for good nutrition?

lopta said...

I'm torn between (proper) mash and baked. I suppose I mash up my baked spud in any case, so mash probably wins my vote. Runner beans go well with mash. :-9