I was preparing spuds for mash and I did something that has been programmed into me since childhood. I looked at the number of potatoes that I had peeled, did a quick calculation and thought, yeah, I’d better peel one more.
I should clarify that there was more than a small bit of irrationality associated with this decision.
The number of spuds already peeled was really more than adequate. I only needed to cater for myself and my parents. Moreover, my Da, being quite severely under the weather, was not likely to want to eat much of anything. Still, I held out a vague hope that he might eat his usual quota of mash, so there was an optimistic allowance for that and then some. Indeed, it is a testament to his lifelong love of potatoes that, with little or no appetite, one of the few things he’d even consider trying is mashed spuds.
More than that, though, this had everything to do with growing up in a large household where potatoes were the staple and where, in the matter of “too many potatoes” vs. “not enough potatoes” you learned that the former is impossible i.e. you can never have too many potatoes and the latter is, well, a crime. So we always had spuds and lots of ’em and, at any given sitting, more of them cooked than were going to be eaten. That’s just how it was. Not that the remainder ever, ever went to waste (not a hope in a crowd of 10 kids). Plenty of opportunity for leftover boiled spuds to appear as part of a weekend fry-up or topping off a shepherds pie (which we probably ate with some more spuds, come to think of it).
So today, I peeled that extra spud. Mashed the results with butter, milk, salt and pepper. Watched my Da only manage a couple of forkfuls and then stored the predictable excess of mash in the fridge. I have no fear about its fate, however. I know that it will get used up, for tomorrow is another potato day and you can never have too many of those.