The Red Potato

Red potatoes are how I first knew I loved food in more than an I-love-you-because-you-keep-me-alive kind of way.

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Growing up, potatoes in general were my go to answer to “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” In fact, I think I told this to one of my elementary teachers who kindly insisted I might grow tired of them. I let her think what she wanted, but in my mind I knew the truth.

Such a notion was impossible.

Baked, scalloped, cooked for hours in the juices of a pot roast, fried, chipped; I loved them all the same. But my true love, what I could cheerfully make an entire meal out of, was mashed potatoes.

When one of my three brothers got to the pot of buttery, creamy goodness before me, I’d give them the death glare, a subtle warning to the serving size they should proceed with taking. Should there be any leftover after dinner was finished, my pointer finger would find it’s way to scooping the bottom of the pot, assuring not a morsel went to waste.

On an average weeknight dinner, I found my mother’s mashed potatoes to be exceptional. The flavor was brighter, even more flavorful than usual, and of the perfect creamy consistency. Going out on a ledge, I asked her, “Are these red potatoes?”

She tilted her head and looked me over curiously, “Yes. How did you know?”

“Don’t know. Just something about the way they taste. I like ’em!”

They say the red potato doesn’t lend itself well to being mashed, but I beg to differ. In that moment, my taste buds learned the difference between a red potato and the usual Russet potatoes which often graced our table. And while my palate and brain worked simultaneously to understand what this meant, deep within, my foodie side was being born.

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