Potatoes are a big deal in the Douglas family, especially their dad's mashed potatoes. He always peels one for each person and another one for the pot. Idaho russets are his favorites. They are huge, as big as a man's hand. The potatoes are cut into large pieces and boiled in heavily salted water. Their dad drains the potatoes, adds real butter and whole milk, and mashes the lot. The he salts them again, using a heavy hand.
In her apartment one town over, daughter Abbie Douglas tries to be weight and health conscious. Her refrigerator contains margarine and fat-free milk. She buys salt in little tiny shakers. Occasionally she mashes up small red or yellow boiled potatoes, but they don't taste anything like her dad's. His potatoes are full of flavor. Abbie's are not.
So, whenever she visits home, Abbie's dad always cooks up a huge bowl of his signature dish, putting two extra potatoes into the pot instead of one. Abbie tries to be considerate and lets everyone else dig in first. But, it has become a family joke that when she is at the table the bowl is passed away from her and everyone helps themselves before passing the bowl to her. Abbie puts whatever is left onto her plate, gleefully saying "The rest is for me."
Last Sunday Abbie arrived a little late for dinner. To everyone's surprise her little niece shouted out "Quick, pass the potatoes. Aunt Abbie is here."
I don't think she will ever live it down.
13 January 2014