Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lovely Day For Potatoes

For once I had a relatively leisure Saturday. The Clog-wife had a series of dance lessons and was away until late afternoon. I indulged myself in a spate of the most manly of weekend activities, puttering around, interupted by brief flurries of activity involving playing my piano, practicing Morris Dance whistle tunes I'm to play at the Florida Folk Festival, and cooking.

The Clog-wife is tired and hungry after a day of dance teaching and practice, and I try to have a nice hot meal waiting for her. So early on I made potato soup in the crock-pot. This time I used yellow "creamer" spuds and finely diced purple onions from Freddy Wood's onion patch. I finished the soup by stirring in a chunk of butter, splash of milk, dash of dry basil, and grated parmesan cheese.

I must say I prefer the flavor and texture of good old russet bakers over any other variety, in just about any recipe. Thats what comes from growing up in Idaho, where the russet is king. Come to think of it, until I was about 20 years old I thought red potatoes were quite inferior alien life forms placed on earth to confuse the non-Idahoan population. Since then, I've come to appreciate the value of differences, even in potatoes, and have eaten red ones, yellow ones, and even tiny black and purple ones carried to the US by a Peruvian friend.

Here in Evinston, when you say "potatoes" you really mean southern "red potatoes." If you mean traditional russet or baking potatoes, you say "arsh potatoes". One last word: please remove the skins from your red potatoes before you cook them. The skins are very bitter and can't be chewed up, comminuted, or otherwise masticated as easily as russet skins.

The meal of potato soup and To the Moon Rocket Salad (this time with black olives too) hit the spot for me. Afterwards Clog-wife and I rode our bicycles to a little town south of us called McIntosh and back. The bobwhites were just starting in with their distinctive calls, and the sun was slipping behind the oak trees.

We finished the evening enjoying the Bette Midler remake of "Gypsy". Two comments on the movie: (1.) I kept waiting for the blonde daughter to waltz back in at the end and wreck everything for everybody, but she didn't. (2.) For the life of me I couldn't help laughing and imagining Martin Short singing in his Ethyl Merman voice every time Midler blasted out the
"I Had a Dream!" theme. Now I'm keen to watch some films featuring Martin Short.

[4:48 Three revisions and two dictionary checks later (Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary and Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary), and I think I've finally gotten the spelling of potatoes correct. The Clog Almanac apologizes deeply for these Dan Quayle-esque spelling blunders.]

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