Uncle Keith made the best mashed potatoes ever. I’m not sure how he did it, but he made the smoothest, creamiest mashed potatoes in all the world and he didn’t accomplish it, like a cheater, by using a hand mixer. No, no, he made it happen with a mixture of elbow grease and pure determination. And probably a shit load of milk.
So, it’s no wonder that when I was growing up, I can distinctly remember that any time potatoes needed mashing and Uncle Keith was around, the chef always called him into the kitchen to mash those puppies up. No one was ever disappointed the finished product.
Fast forward to five years ago. Dave invited me over for dinner one night after boasting about his roasting abilities. He said he was going to make a pork roast dinner with all the fixings. Shortly after walking into his place, he told me that it would only be a little bit longer; he was just waiting on the rice to finish cooking.
The following conversation occurred:
Dave: Is that okay? Do you like rice?
Me: Yeah, sure, rice is great, but I thought you were making a roast dinner…
Dave: I am!
Me: Soooo… where the hell are the potatoes?!?
Dave: I don’t make potatoes, I make rice…
Me: You don’t make potatoes?? Where do you put the gravy???
Dave: On the rice…
I wasn’t convinced it was the same; I’d never had gravy on rice before that night. I accepted the fact that some people make rice with their roast dinners and that some people are fucking weird. I ate my gravy rice and enjoyed it, but I never let him live that down. I mean, come on, have I ever been known to let something like that go?
Fast forward to two years ago. Dave, in a feeble attempt to make it up to me, invited me over for dinner once again. I don’t recall if it was another roast that he was whipping up, but I do recall that there was going to be gravy and he made a point of telling me that there were going to be potatoes to put the gravy on.
Just to be sure that he knew that I had high standards in the mashed potato arena, I told him about Uncle Keith’s mashed potatoes (for probably the third time); he said that he also makes really creamy ones. I was eager to try them. I didn’t have to wait long; shortly after, I was instructed that dinner was ready and I could dish up. But as soon as I grabbed the potato spoon, I knew something wasn’t right.
I was assured that they were, in fact, real potatoes. I said that the texture was weird; I asked what kind of potatoes they were.
I told him that potatoes out of a box are not real potatoes. He told me they were real; he showed me the ingredient list… the list that included “real potato flakes”. I told him real mashed potatoes are made by taking potatoes and mashing them!
I haven’t been invited over for dinner since. Honestly, it’s a wonder he puts up with me.