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.
10 kids?!? That’s a whole lotta spuds! I sometimes tease my mother and older sister because they prepare way more than needed for dinner parties and get-togethers but I realize now that it is an important part of Filipino culture. We welcome people into our home by asking “Have you eaten?”, and giving ‘baon’ (or wrapped leftovers) as your guests leave is almost mandatory. Food is central to hospitality and running out or having too little to feed your guests is considered socially shameful. I don’t entertain a lot but when I do, I’m a nervous wreck worrying whether or not I have enough for everyone to take home another meal. Thanks for giving us a peek into your family traditions!
I do the same kind of math when estimating rice and potatoes. You can never have too much of either :)
Tangled Noodle: yes, it is a whole lotta spuds (and explains just some of the motivation behind the blog name :) ). Thanks, too, for (yet another) peek into Filipino food traditions. Our foods may be different but there’s so much common ground in terms of the role that food plays in both family and culture.
Brownies for Dinner: agreed!
You know Spud- I might have mentioned you in my little sccatergories game if I had know you would have been so delighted! But Tangled handled it properly… Oh and as to the question…should have re-edited before the post, but a glass of red wine, and white before bed will do that to ya-
ooooppps, I corrected it- 50/50, typing fast can cause a lot of problems, lol, and I noticed early this morning going through blogs that I am not the only one that posts; then re-edits :)
Actually, those cookies are almost mean’t to dissolve in the mouth with regular flour, but I like my cookies with more mouth feel and fiber (healthier)
On one more note- in the early 80’s the south went through a leave the peel on in our mashers- I still prefer them that way- some might consider it a nasty way to eat them, but my mom for years when eating a baked one swore on her mom’s grave they had vitamins in them, lol
Chef E: lol, I thought you’d invented something new there with your 5/50 flour! On the subject of mashed spuds including the skins, I’ve never gone that route, though my mum also always told us that the skins had the most goodness in them, so there must be something in that :)
My mother is from Ireland and was 1 of 11 children, so potatoes were also major staple in their lives – and then ours growing up. Any family get together featured a ridiculously large plate of baked or bowl of mashed potatoes in the center of the table.
To this day, I agree that there’s no such thing as too many potatoes. Sadly, my hubby doesn’t care for potatoes too much, so we rarely have them at home. But anytime I go to mom’s, I know I’ll get my fill! Thanks for bringing back some great memories.
Yum. Over Christmas we made bubble and squeak with the leftover mash and some grated sprouts. It was bloody fab. I love leftovers!!
Valley Writer: so glad I could bring back those memories :)
English Mum: bubble and squeak is a truly fine invention – bloody fab indeed!
“You can never have too many potatoes.” Amen to that! I, myself, have had (and continue to have) a love affair with all things potato–mashed, fried, oven-fried, in hash, au gratin, escalloped–you name it; I’ll eat it!
Extra potatoes are always welcome around our house. If we ever have extra mashed potatoes we top them with cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream…the whole loaded baked potato thing going on.
Mashed potaoes are the ultimate comfort food for me in any combination. So filling and warm and you can really keep them simple or spice them up. I always tend to over peel. :)
so true…food is mandatory and central to all cultures…getting together..big families and hearty dinners.
Jenni: there are indeed so many good ways with potatoes, hard to go wrong :)
Melissa: can’t argue with the loaded baked potato thing!
Lori: mash is definitely a great comfort food (especially with melted butter, gravy or both… mmm)
Navita: yes, very true – and every culture, no doubt, has its own culturally significant potato equivalent
Ohhhh…Ms Spud…I do know about Jamie Oliver…I also am part of a campaign to add healthier food into schools…Thanks for your comments, and if you get a chance shoot an email about Fu Fu flour and what you used it in…Please…I would love to know, and will be asking Tangled Noodle too. :)
Daily Spud – You know I always thought if I was stuck on a deserted island and could have one food…it would be the spud!
What a great story! I am always for adding one more to the pot rather than not have enough! Hope your dad feels better soon!
Chef E: I’m working on the fufu thing, more info soon…
gastroanthropologist: desert island spuds? sounds good to me!
Jenn: thanks, much appreciated
I admire food bloggers who can talk about food while really talking about so much more. But really, tell your Da to eat more spuds. You deserve it! GREG
I have always subscribed to the philosophy that you can never have enough mashed potatoes. Due to my utter contempt for having to peel potatoes however, I have also learned to become a big fan of potato skins. My favorite mashed potatoes are Yukon Golds, mashed with their skins, cream, butter and a big whollop of horseradish. So good.
Greg: Welcome and thank you so much for your comment. Really appreciated. Food encompasses so much more than cooking and eating – I’m very happy if what I scribble about here manages to convey even some of that.
Lauri: I might have to try mash with skins sometime – I know that I would certainly have no problem digging into some mashed new potatoes, skins ‘n’ all :) And mention of horseradish has just reminded me of what a great addition wasabi is to a bowl of mashed spuds. They’re just the veg that keeps on giving!
All I can do is echo the other comments and say there is definitely no such thing as too much spud. There is ALWAYS something else to do with it. And the love affair grew greater when I discovered Roosters, thanks to my hubbie. Is there nothing that spud can’t do? It deserves a superhero cape.
Here in Oklahoma we eat loads of potatoes. I just laughed with your ” I’d better peel one more.” This happens every time I peel potatoes. What is it with us??? My grandmother would boil the peels and make soup. So good!
Jen: I am so enjoying that Rooster-with-cape image!
Stacey: boiling the peels to make soup – well, why not – smart woman, your grandmother!
There is always room for one more potato … lol !
Indeed so, Denise, indeed so!