Dear Chef Kelly,
I am in possession of four pounds of potatoes which will start resembling chia pets in a few days. What should I do with all the potatoes?
I know you will ask what kind of potatoes. They are the kind that have skin and grow in the ground.
Thanks in advance for your culinary guidance,
I knew Kelly wouldn’t abandon me in my time of need. A quick instant message exchange followed my email.
Chef Kelly: Why do you have four pounds of potatoes? You don’t save money if you have to throw things out!
Carol: I went to buy two baking potatoes and saw that I could get five pounds of potatoes for a dollar more. They. Were. On. Sale.
Chef Kelly: That’s a damn lot of potatoes.
Carol: So what do I do with them?
Chef Kelly: Go to foodnetwork.com and find a recipe.
Carol: Would Yoda tell Luke to go to the internet and learn how to be a Jedi?
Chef Kelly: Oh jeez.
Clearly, Kelly didn’t realize what was involved in agreeing to teach me to cook. I believe she needs some time to adjust.
I decided I want to make potato soup. I went to foodnetwork.com where I found many recipes, all of which called for an understanding of the kitchen that I don’t have.
What is a ricer? Do I have a ricer? Would I know if I did?
An immersion blender? I’m pretty sure I don’t have that.
And what exactly IS a leek?
And homemade chicken stock? Homemade? Are you serious?
Does that mean in order to get potato soup I must start with a chicken? And then what would I do with the chicken? What if I found a chicken recipe that required me to start with potato soup? I picture my kitchen as an M. C. Escher drawing and feel nauseous as I try to get to the microwave and repeatedly end up inside the refrigerator.
I need a different plan.
In Kelly’s early enthusiasm for my potential culinary transformation, she gave me a gift! Alice Waters’ book, The Art of Simple Food, arrived at my doorstep last week. It seems the goal is if I can learn to cook primarily with whole foods and fresh ingredients which are naturally in season, I will find cooking to be easier and the results more satisfying.
It’s hard to see what could be more satisfying than popping a Stouffer’s Family Size Frozen Meatloaf dinner into the microwave, but I’m willing to give Kelly and Alice Waters some latitude.
I open the book and am greeted with pictures of rosemary, tarragon, basil, marjoram, sage, and other herbs. But, wait, why do they look like BUSHES? Where are the shaker jars with labels with powder inside, on sale at Walmart for 3.99 for 16 ounces? I slam the book closed. Am I supposed to grow stuff? Forage? What?!?
I’m thinking Kelly has found the perfect way to get back at me for some trauma I caused her about ten years ago. Though I had long forgotten, apparently Kelly had not, because she reminded me of it last night when we were discussing how to work around the lack of immersion blender problem:
Kelly: I know you have a blender because when I gave you that beanie baby, you stored it inside the blender. That image bothered me for years.
Carol: Oh, yeah. I had forgotten about that.
Kelly: I never did.
Kelly: So anyway, you do have a blender.
Carol: Yes, but I’ll have to … uh… clean some … stuff… out of it.
Kelly: Oh jeez.
So today I’m off to the grocery store to spend extra money on ingredients to make soup from the potatoes I purchased on sale in order to save money.
I think AIG and Lehman Brothers started with a similar strategy.