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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fried Potatoe Memories

  A friend at work was telling me, yesterday, that when her family first came to this country and her brother was learning English, he tried to order some french fries at McDonald's. He kept saying potatoes and the girl kept telling him they did not serve potatoes. I could just see my friend's family sitting around telling that story and laughing. But when I thought about it, I wondered if that girl understood french fries were made from potatoes. Or most are, I'm not sure about McDonald's, although they are the best french fries in the world.
 When I was growing up, my mother made fried potatoes. They were different from french fries as they were still recognizable as potatoes. I was talking about this with my brother, Jerry, once. He was saying it was important to soak the potatoes in salt water before frying them. When Mom heard this, she laughed and said, the only reason she had soaked them in salt water was, because she was cooking for 10 people. This was the best way to keep the potatoes from turning brown before she could finish peeling and slicing them.
 Mom was an excellent fry cook, and we all have the arteries to prove it. She always used a large cast iron skillet and Crisco. We would likely all be dead by now, had she not discovered vegetable oil some time in the late 60's. But I think her magic was in that cast iron skillet. One of my ex-sisters in law used to call it her cauldron. She was not implying that Mom was a mean witch, this was one of my nicer ex-sisters in-law, but suggesting she was spooky in other ways. She dreamed things before they happened and always knew what her kids were up to. I think when God gives a woman that many children, He may also give her a heads up about whats going on. It's only fair.
 Fried potatoes are one of the many things I try to avoid these days. I'm not even sure where my iron skillet is, but it does sound good.
 Once, we were having one of those family get together things, and I was thinking about how everyone buys their chicken already fried. So I bought enough chicken thighs and legs to feed the whole tribe and fried them my self. After the first hour of standing over a hot stove, I remembered why I love KFC so much. The sad thing is, no one seemed all that impressed. It was just fried chicken. They ate it without ever realizing the love, devotion and hard work that went into it. Kind of like we were with Mom.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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