Growing up in Prince Edward Island made me a potatophile from day one.
I made mashed potatoes for my after-school snack, eaten while watching “The Facts of Life”.
I dated a guy in high school based solely on the fact that he worked in a dairy and could be counted on to show up at my door with a tub of sour cream, our family’s favourite condiment, every time he came to take me to the movies.
Walking through my mother’s herb garden past normal-sized patches of thyme, rosemary and chervil, you’d be ill-prepared for the sudden “Day of the Triffids” moment when you came to the end where the dill and chives grew. The dill and chives were a garden unto themselves, a massive planting that got attacked with scissors every day until the snow flew.
No truffled-dusted foie gras for us, the dish we romanticized and talked of the most was always the first potato salad of the year, when mom would dig the new potatoes out of the earth seconds before boiling them and tossing them with fresh dill, chives, chopped egg and mayonnaise. This would always be served up with a lobster boil.
Sitting around the picnic table in garbage bag ponchos we would hack away at the hard red shells while ice cubes popped and cracked in the pitcher of Grape Fizz (ginger ale mixed with Welch’s Grape Juice), until we had a plate piled high with lobster meat and potato salad to be eaten completely with our sun-brown hands.
A new potato salad is still the only thing that can take my attention away from a lobster tail.
Snowflakes mean a different kind of preparation for potatoes, most often mashed or baked. Sometimes you just want to build your own perfect baked potato, a lovely DIY project on the dinner plate. When Wendy’s started offering the ultimate in homemade, slow roasted, comfort food as a ready in seconds menu item a little bit of me died inside.
The only way to fix it was to get into the kitchen and cook some bacon, chop some chives, grate a little aged cheddar and open a tub of sour cream while the russets slowly steamed in their jackets.