I remember eating mashed potatoes on the sunporch at my friend Allison’s house. We were sitting cross-legged on the floor, huddled around a wicker coffee table, our plates just inches from our mouths. There was other food, I’m sure, chicken or maybe meatloaf or some other forgotten piece of protein I’d pushed to the side to make room for the Halasa family mashed potatoes. I’d started with a mountain of them, yellow from the excessive butter content and so dense they required I carry the paper plate two-handed to our roost at the kids’ table.
Sitting there on the floor with my girlfriends, I momentarily admired the mass on my plate, eager and anxious, before bringing one mounding forkful of those creamy, lumpless potatoes to my mouth. I delicately slid the fork between my lips, twitterpated as my eyes squeezed closed and the warmth of the potatoes coated my tongue and throat. After each bite, I’d drag the edge of my fork over the potatoes, smoothing out the craters, like a Zamboni methodically perfecting the surface of an ice rink.
Moderation was a mystery to me, and each swallow brought me simultaneous pleasure and nausea; I was powerless to the potatoes. Forget meat sweats, I was fighting carb-induced hysteria. As I battled my inner ever-present demons of gluttony, I placed my fork on the table, letting my fingers linger on the warm metal while the internal turmoil waged on. Abruptly, I jerked my fingers away from the fork and scooped up the remaining mashed potatoes with a cupped right hand. I brought them to my mouth, hesitating for just a moment at my lips, questioning and confused, when a brash flash of clarity zapped through my mind and I quickly and swiftly smeared the mashed potatoes across my right cheek, followed immediately by a scoopful slathered across the left. It was fast, like an impatient father slapping sunscreen on a squirming toddler, and when I lifted my potato-masked face I found two silent, slightly horrified teenage girls staring at me.
Unlike most people, when I say something is so good, I want to smear it all over my face, I’m speaking from hands-on experience. I know exactly what it takes to trigger that sort of primal action. I know the complete lack of self-control delicious food can cause. I know what potatoes can do to a girl.
Of all the sessions at the 2013 International Food Blogger Conference, my favorite was Kim O’Donnel’s interactive writing workshop, which focused on breaking through writer’s block by reminding us that we all have something to write about, the trick is starting small-scale. We started with “I remember” and then rapidly jotted down as many memories as we could conjure over the course of three minutes. “I remember eating mashed potatoes on the sunporch at my friend Allison’s house” was one of many memories on my list, and I’m so happy to finally have this specific memory written on the blog.
I would like to send one last HUGE thank you to Truly Good Foods for sponsoring my attendance at the IFBC! Truly Good Foods specializes in premium snack mixes, raw and freshly roasted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and hundreds of bulk and packaged candies, spices, grains and specialty foods. Truly Good Foods has an extensive line of retail branded products, including Grabeez®, Buffalo Nuts® and Dip & Devour Dipping Chocolates.