On Potatoes

2009
10.31

I have an admission to make: I have an addiction. It’s not easy for me to admit this to any of my friends, but I am in recovery and part of that recovery is owning up to those things that are beyond your control.

First of all, you need to know that I am Irish. You may not know this but on the base of the Statue of Liberty it reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for Potatoes….” Trust me, you’d be amazed at what you’d learn from me about American history. For those of you who don’t know history, there was a potato famine in Europe in the 1840’s and especially in Ireland where those folks really knew how to eat a good spud.

I am those people; they are me. It is because of them and their world wide search for potatoes that I am in the boat I am in today. The quest for potatoes is “rooted” deep in my DNA.

My Irish ancestors came to this country in search of potatoes and they found them. Praise be all glory! Is it any wonder that they stayed?

We have so many delicious varieties in this country such as the following: the Yellow Flesh such as the Yukon Gold, the Russet flesh like the common brown Russet potato that we all know and love, the Red flesh, and the White Flesh. I don’t care what the flesh, I am not a racist!! Yellow, russet, red or white, they are all precious in my sight, God how I love all the potatoes of the world!

But I digress, I’m going to have to break up with the potato, also known as my own special version of Crack Cocaine. I love them baked, fried, boiled, mashed, hashed and au gratined. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a loaded baked potato: cheese, bacon, chives, butter and sour cream with a good grinding of pepper and a few pinches of salt.

I would rather have potatoes more than any other food in this world and one look at my body would be solid proof of that to you. Some people are addicted to chocolate; I love chocolate, but I could live without it if I had to. Other folks crave ice cream, I can leave that all together if need be. In my opinion, life is not worth living without potatoes in it. You can see my road to recovery will be a long one.

I ask you why a loving God would make potatoes if he didn’t intend for us to enjoy them? They are not illegal or immoral. Potatoes are our friends! They can be a meal unto themselves topped with broccoli, ham and cheese. They can be made into a schwanky side dish festooned with shards of arugula and hunks of rosemary, which I must add really looks like little baby Christmas trees.

In the interest of writing this piece, I looked up other uses for the potato and I came up with several interesting possibilities: 1)as an anti-aging agent; 2)as medicine for a headache; 3)as a shoe polish; 4)to keep your glasses clear (I don’t all together understand this one- you’re suppose to rub potato on your glasses lens to keep them clear, but I see that really as a way to slime them up, but whatever. It’s not for me to judge); 5) my personal favorite: Potatoes as a sleeping pill. “Potato prevents the action of acids in our stomach that disturb our sleep. Take a boiled and mashed potato with milk before sleeping to have a peaceful sleep.” Well duh! I could have told you that! I found that on the Internet, so therefore it must be true.

One of my earliest memories involves potatoes: I remember a family dinner or two on Grandma Martha’s porch where we kids would open our mouths and show off to each other our mashed potatoes. Those were the Wonder Years and the best days of my life!

Grandma Martha believed in potatoes of some sort with every meal and she always drowned them in globs of real, rich creamy butter. There were none of those fake spray butters in her house like, “I Don’t Believe this Spritz tastes like Butter” or butter sprinkles like “Maggie McButterbuds”. If you are going to eat potatoes why would you defile them with simulated butter products? Oh, how I miss her and her delicious potatoes swimming in butter!

Anyway, I just wanted to mention to you that I am struggling with this; I’m sure it makes me more human to you. It’s time for me to answer the hard questions: how am I going to make it through the holidays while managing my addiction? Can I eat just one potato chip or does that mean I am off the potato wagon? Is there life on the other side of the potato? Please I ask for your prayers as we move through this difficult holiday season. Thank you.

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