Even fried potato recipe brings thoughts of Mom
Monday, May 19, 2014 4:52 AM
When I was young, fried potatoes meant leftover cooked potatoes cut up and fried in bacon grease. But now, I start with uncooked potatoes, sometimes even using purple potatoes.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Several scrubbed potatoes - yellow Yukons, purple and/or russets
Chopped colored sweet peppers-green, yellow, orange or red (about one whole pepper)
Optional: sliced mushrooms
Freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the chopped onion and beginning cooking, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile begin cutting up the potatoes with skins left on, but cut away any spoiled spots or deep eyes. Fingerling potatoes can be left whole before slicing into quarter-inch thick slices. Larger potatoes can be quartered, then sliced.
Add potatoes to onion that's been cooking in oil on medium high heat. Every couple of minutes, using a non-stick spatula turner, lift and turn the potatoes, allowing some browning to occur on the slices as they cook. As they are cooking, wash, half and core the pepper. Slice and then cut into half-inch chunks.
After potatoes have been browning and cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes, add the peppers and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, turning with the potatoes and lowering temp slightly.
One may need to add an extra tablespoon of olive oil during cooking.
Season with salt and freshly-ground pepper. If desired, add sliced fresh mushrooms during the last couple minutes of cooking.
I use a generous amount of chopped onions and prefer adding chopped sweet peppers and perhaps some sliced mushrooms. When starting with uncooked potatoes, unless one overcooks them, the potato chunks have more texture than mom's fried potatoes.
Fried potatoes have gotten to be one of the things I like to cook up north at the lake. I might serve them with an omelet for lunch or for a Saturday evening meal, with grilled meat, along with a green salad.
Although I was out-of-town for Mother's Day, a posting on Facebook by my sister, Beth, showed the mom I remembered. Short permed hair framed her face and glasses. She was smiling and looked happy.
For many years of my life, I was told, "You look just like your mom." I wasn't exactly thrilled to be a clone of someone else, especially since my mom had a twin sister. That meant three of use looked "alike."
Although my mom has been gone since 2010, within the last year I saw someone who distinctly remembered my mom. She said, "You sound just like your mom." Oh, no, I thought. Now, I look like and sound like my mom.
But now, it is not actually that bad, as sometimes I recall my mom later in life, before her final two-year illness. She had been very independent. Because of an illness my dad had experienced, she was the family car driver.
It was only after Mom got them lost driving to my nephew's house in Iowa for Easter dinner that we realized we should be driving them to family events a ways from home. I tended to be critical of my mom and managed to tell her what she should be doing, quite often.
If there was one thing I'd like to do is just go back and shut up. As I am getting older, I find I don't really want my kids telling me what I should or should not be doing.
But it was only once that we were able to act on having them ride with us to the Iowa Easter dinner. Because it was only once, I suppose, the memory of the drive will always be a nice one. My parents sat in the back seat of my Honda CRV with my husband driving and my dad telling stories.
It was an amazing and delightful trip, all the way to my sister's home in Des Moines and back home again, where we delivered them to their car in Marion. They'd left it there after church.
One crazy thing about my parents was that you'd never know when they would stop by my house for a visit. Or let themselves in when I wasn't at home and go lay down on my bed to take a nap. But, honestly, I was so used to that, it was really quite OK.
So yeah, when I saw that photo posted on Facebook, I missed my mom.
It wasn't until today that I saw myself posted in a photo for Mother's Day and it was noted I had a good "ignore muscle." I am not so sure this was totally a good thing, since having three boys, they fought frequently and I mostly tuned them out and had designated a spot in the house for "wrestling," which was really fighting.
In years later, I have heard stories of fighting that I honestly don't remember. Where was I? I have wondered. I did ignore a lot of kid static and their conflicts.
I was at the lake for Mother's Day and the weather was fantastic. Saturday was so perfect, with sunshine and warmer temps all day, we sort of wanted to pinch ourselves. Because this will likely be the last of our alone time up north, with waves of guests coming, we enjoyed our last weekend of just us.
We were also preparing for the next time we are there with others. I started cleaning an area in the basement, that's sort of been a work area for my husband's projects, but had never been cleaned as a living space. This was Sunday and because one thing led to another, soon over three hours had passed before I quit.
In the meantime, my husband was rinsing off the deck table and out raking oak leaves off our limited turf area. On Sunday, the weather was still nice and I was down in a fluorescent lit basement. However, on surveying the results and finding an area where grandkids and their dads might hang out in case of rain, I felt excited and proud of my accomplishment.
My husband dreams of the day when he will remodel the house and make it the way he wants it. I like it just the way it is, simple and plain, surrounded by lovely nature.
I loved it during the winter in a blanket of snow and quiet. I like it in spring when leaves don't hide the view of the lake. I noticed on Sunday morning, how the white clouds were reflected in the water.
Although it was lovely last weekend, the prior weekend, there were still remnants of ice in our bay. Saturday morning, while my husband was across the lake helping at his sister's home putting out docks, I walked to the edge of the lake and sat down, just enjoying the peace of the scene.
Then, down the shore a ways, I heard voices and saw a sight similar to what was occurring across the lake. Guys were pushing a Boat Life into the lake and once they were in the chilly water, their high-pitched shrieks carried down to where I was sitting, beyond their sight.
I laughed out loud, but they didn't hear me either.
As usual, my recipe is one I have made and the proportions are approximate, as this isn't something I use a recipe for. And this too, reminds me of my mom. When I was learning to cook, I found it difficult learning from a mom, who rarely cooked with a recipe. But now I understand.