I’m in Fremont with my brother and sister-in-law. We put eight potatoes in foil and bake them in the oven.
90 minutes later, I prod one and it is squishy. The potato burns the pad of my finger. Ashley and David prod them, and maybe the potatoes burn the pads of their fingers too, but I do not ask them.
Ashley says, “Chelsea, what are the odds you’ll write a blog post about potatoes?”
I say “one in five” and we count down from three, and Ashley and I say a number at the same time between 1 and 5–let’s say it’s 4–and since we say the same number, than means I lost the bet and now I have to post a blog about potatoes.
We take bowls and unwrap the potatoes. We put them in the bowls and smash them with forks and on top of the potatoes, we put chili, cheese, onions, tomatoes, chives, guacamole, sour cream, salt, and pepper. The bowl is hot and heavy, and we agree that these baked potatoes are the best baked potatoes we have ever had.
We eat the potatoes and then we’re full and I go back to doing a puzzle while David watches football and does push-ups whenever something bad happens to the Seahawks. Ashley doesn’t like it when David does push-ups. She says “you’re extra” and pokes David in the ribs. When David doesn’t stop doing push-ups, Ashley sits on David’s back. That just gets David more pumped up and David does push-ups with Ashley sitting on his back.
But anyway the potatoes are russets. Russet potatoes are good for baking. You can buy them cheap. They’re brown with starchy flesh.
Potatoes have been around since Bible times or maybe before.
In Hebrew, a potato is a “ground apple.” But contrary to tradition and the stained glass window in your church, the fruit Eve and Adam eat in the Bible isn’t an apple. Not even a ground apple, which is what the Hebrew word for “potato” is. It could have been an apple or a potato, it just doesn’t specify.
Potatoes burrow. Like moles or leeches. You bury one in your garden, (but not in the same place two years in a row!), and that potato will dig deeper and deeper, heading toward the solid core of the earth from whence its forebears came. They stick their tongues out and close their eyes and drag themselves deeper and deeper into the earth. They go for six months without stopping. But they are slow so that’s why when you harvest them, their eyes are still closed and they haven’t moved much.
(Clams do this too, but they are faster and tire easily [You shouldn’t eat clams or potatoes raw (I know someone who eats clams raw [right there on the beach] and he’s fine)].)
Actually, potatoes can go far. They have been known to tunnel through the layers of our planet. As they go, they pass pre-potato fossils. They brave lava and fire under the crust of the earth. They talk to each other to pass the time as they drill through the mantle. They grow and excrete moisture to defend themselves from the heat of the outer core. When they reach the core of the earth which is hollow and pleasant and quiet, they open their eyes and swell to the size of, um, jackfruits. They are happy there so they don’t leave. That’s why the earth’s core is full of potatoes.
But often, they don’t make it. They succumb to the grueling journey. The russets find resting places in the crust of the earth.
And other times, they go right through the core of the earth and out the other side. And that’s why there are so many potatoes floating in the ocean.
So if they do that, then how do your potatoes get back to your garden? They don’t. Each potato you plant in your garden, if it makes the full underground journey, arrives in the potato garden directly across the world from yours. So you never harvest the potatoes you plant.
Other things I know about potatoes are these things:
- Potatoes have homing devices and if you keep one in your glove compartment (in your car), you’ll never get lost.
- You can prevent burrowing by planting potatoes in pots.
- You can turn a potato inside out.
- You can’t spin a potato like a top because of the gravity.
- Potatoes keep well over the winter.
- There are purple potatoes.
- Potatoes are good if you boil them and then smash them with a fork and roast them in olive oil. My boyfriend makes potatoes like that for me sometimes. He says “we’ve really got our potato game dialed in” and then he looks in the oven and is like “look at em.”
- I think there’s a thing called the potato diet.
- There was a thing called the Potato Famine.
- The first organism in space was a potato.