One potato, two potato…wow, that’s a lot of potatoes!

21 Feb

In 2001, after 5 years of dating, my then-boyfriend (now my husband) decided that it was time for our parents to meet. Rather than scheduling this for a normal, informal meal, we decided to arrange it during the holiday of all holidays–Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is no small feat for even the most experienced cook, never mind a 24 year old novice. But I was determined to make it a memorable holiday. I had no idea just how right I was destined to be.

While everyone was milling about our small1  bedroom apartment, playing the uncomfortable game of “getting to know you even though our kids have been dating for 5 years”, I was slaving away in the kitchen, measuring and pouring, pouring and measuring, opening boxes and juggling pots and pans. The stuffing and cranberry sauce–easy enough. The green bean casserole–no problem since my mom made it. But then, there was the potatoes.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever made instant mashed potatoes. Just in case you haven’t, here’s the rundown: you measure water, milk and butter and bring it all to boil in a pot. When the liquid boils, you add the premeasured potato flakes and quickly remove it from the heat. Stir with a fork, let it sit for a few minutes and bam–mashed potatoes! Sounds easy enough, right?

In an effort to make sure that there was plenty of food, I had decided I would make the entire box of potatoes. After all, I was serving 8 people and mashed potatoes are always really popular. So, I took the large box of potato flakes that I had purchased and measured what the box said was the proper amounts for the entire box. I took care to use my largest pot and paid careful attention to the boiling liquid so I could add the flakes at just the right time. But I must have fallen asleep standing up because the next thing I knew, the potato equivalent of a volcanic eruption took over my stove.

But unlike a volcano, this eruption gave no warning. There was no pre-eruption splatter, no ugly gurgle, no smoke signal. There was just a moment of calm and then potatoes were everywhere. They were  spilling out of the pot, crawling down the burner, spreading all over the rest of the stove. It was a literal tsunami of potatoes, drowning everything in its path. Nothing was safe. And I was completely paralyzed. Even though I stood there, watching the river of potatoes coat my stove, I couldn’t move to stop it.

The next thing I knew, the loudest, barbaric cry I had ever screamed came out of my mouth. My mother and my boyfriend-turned-husband came running in to the kitchen. They were expecting to see a finger laying on the ground or skin melting off my hand. But instead, they saw a potato swamp. As they stood there laughing, they threw paper towels at me to stop the destruction. At some point, someone pulled the pot off the burner, but it didn’t matter. The damage was done.

Oh, the food wasn’t damaged. We managed to salvage the rest of the food and the meal went quite smoothly (if you count my sister sitting in our Christmas tree as smoothly; I do). No, it was my ego that was damaged. To this day, I cannot prepare mashed potatoes (which, ironically enough, has become my traditional Thanksgiving job) without someone mentioning the great potato event of 2001. It’s quite embarassing, especially considering the cook I have turned into. But I made my goal–I made that day memorable.  

Just ask my mother. She gave the ultimate approval when she…punctuated the day. Thanks, mom!

(And for the record…I no longer use instant mashed potatoes. I’m afraid of another revolt.)


5 Responses to “One potato, two potato…wow, that’s a lot of potatoes!”

  1. mom February 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    thanks for the memories

  2. Jill February 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Oh dear. Thank you so much for the laugh.

  3. K.R. February 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Oh jeeze, and I thought it was bad my grandma made instant potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner!


  1. An unexpected vacation « The Empty Kitchen - May 24, 2010

    […] The Mashed Potato Incident–the first time I ever made mashed potatoes Categories: In the beginning Tags: Aldi experiment, beginnings, Random thoughts Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: