The life of the humble potato; an offering
|I love the taste of raw potato; the starchy, floury texture in my mouth. It reminds me so much of my childhood, the summer nights spent foraging in mud with caked black nails. Heaving with enormous spades and pulling down with all of my weight until the earth rendered it's juicy crop to the open air. Muddy brown potatoes to be rooted and gathered in baskets in the kitchen to take their turn at being scrubbed with wire bristles and have their skins dismembered by sharp peeling blades.
Potatoes have eyes that grow if you leave them in the dark; to seek you out for disturbing their warm muffled slumber amongst their family. You must cut them out; use the peeler to twist them from their sockets. Be careful though - they are like pot holes in the road that wait to trip you up. One slip will see bloody fingers, deep cuts in knuckles, red cells tainting your effort for pureness. Like butchered lambs on the gutting hook you must render their personality from their bodies, and place them on the chopping board to await their fate.
But what fate is this that you will command to them?
Quickly now, you must decide, before their pale flesh begins to shrivel and wither in the fresh air. Quickly, before their starch runs within them, looking for a place to hide, only to find that the hiding space shrinks as time marches on. Like a fish they gasp for liquid sustenance. You must now give it to them; will you boil in water or add some butter? Will you coat them in oil? How grateful they will be!
Why not make plans to mash? The greatest torture. A slow blanch in water with a metal lid to procure a quick end, only to add cold milk and sticky butter to their disintegrating corpses.
How could I do this? How could I carefully tease from seed these earthy brothers, only to rip apart with the same bare hands that so carefully nurtured them, the roots that bind them together? How could I dream to pick off the children so callously and leave them to die at the side of the trenches? The bloody and purpled and bruised all left to one side to meet their fate. I tell myself that they are free to take root in the remaining soil. It's nature's man-made course.
The destruction of a whole city in my quest for wholesome goodness. The mashed families I serve to my father's weak gums. The toddlers I puree for my baby.
I love the taste of raw potato. A lot of people do not, but I do. There's something wrong about it, something unlawful almost. An anomaly in the sphere of culinary tastes.
Best I not think too much on it.