Red faced about the crunchy potatoes

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

I’m pretty sure you all have the same dilemma of “what’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner” as we do.  Every day it seems.  Our menu seems to repeat often according to our favorites.   I don’t cook as much as I used to.  We have found that it is often cheaper (and easier) to get some take-out rather than do meal prep, shop for the groceries, and spend whatever amount of time cooking the meal, plus clean-up.  

I’m not a great cook.  My “signature” dish is spaghetti and meatballs.  But Tom has complimented me on my ability to pull together a decent fare from whatever happened to be in the pantry and fridge.  I was attempting one of those meals at lunch recently.  We had talked about trying the food at a local sandwich shop that we’ve not tried before.  Then it became a seesaw conversation of do we go there and eat, or order and bring home.  Neither option appealed to me, so I thought I’d see what I could pull together.  

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After checking in the pantry and fridge, I decided on the box of cheesy potatoes, a can of green beans, some smoked sausage, with a side of applesauce or cranberry sauce.  I could do this in under 30 minutes.  Winner!  So, I preheated the oven, prepared the potatoes in the casserole dish, heated the beans in the microwave, and put the sausage in the oven alongside the potatoes.  I even had the presence of mind to set the timer. 

I poured glasses of sweet tea for each of us and when the timer went off, I opened the oven and checked the potatoes and meat.  Both looked yummy!  I took a fork and ran it through and around the potatoes, served up the meat and beans and we sat down to lunch.  

After about 2 bites, I realized that the potatoes were not quite done.  And like the rare steak that is declared to be salvageable with a little salve, I thought that if I could put the peeling back on the potatoes, they could live another day.  Yuck!  I looked at my sweet husband who was crunching through a bite of potatoes and through my giggles and apology declared the meal a disaster.  

When I’ve had questionable success in the past with a meal, I often had a delicious dessert to offer.  But in this case, there was nothing.  I did remember hearing on a recent TV program what each state’s favorite Halloween candy was and remembered that for Mississippi it was the Three Musketeers candy bar.  Voila!  I remembered that we had some and that it’s one of Tom’s favorites, so I offered the fun-size Three Musketeers bar as a concession.  He accepted.  

So, dear readers, please do not consider this account as a recipe but rather a cautionary tale.  Get the take-out or go out to get a bite of lunch at one of Oxford’s fine eateries.  It would have saved me some embarrassment and at least 30 minutes of preparation and the rest of the day apologizing for the disappointing lunch.  Tom may forget the semi-crunchy potatoes, but I will not.  I also plan to have Three Musketeers bars in the house always.