Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's called comfort food for a reason


This evening calls for something very basic for dinner. Nothing fancy, nothing wild...... just plain ordinary garlic mashed potatoes. Classic comfort food for a classic lonely evening.

Sometimes your friends are gone away, even when they are there. Some days... all thats left is a thunderous silence, resting with all of times heaviness. Some evenings just beg for... garlic mashed potatoes.

Having Red potatoes on hand, meant to be boiled, that is the method used. Scrubbed and sliced, they are slid into simmering salted water to gain the tenderness required. Red potatoes are not starchy like a baker, and they'll hold up well to a little simmering.

The potatoes having a new home arranged for a while, the flavor package is brought to the burner. Half a white onion, diced and sauteed in an entire stick of real butter. Yes, its a lot of butter, but there must be a lot as it will feed the whole dish.

Once the onions begins browning, the flame is shut down and a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic stirred in along with two large pinches of dried parsley. Slightly too much fresh ground pepper rounds it off, along with a pinch of kosher salt. Allowed to rest, the flavors blend as the onions finish cooking in the hot melted butter. There is enough heat left in the pan to cook the garlic as it snuggles up to it's onion cousin. The fresh ground black pepper will bloom in the hot butter while it waits for the potatoes to finish simmering.

Now tender, the potatoes are smooshed by hand with an old fashioned masher, and then a little whole milk is added as the dish is folded with a wooden spoon (Always add the milk after mashing the potatoes). Still folding, the sauteed onion and garlic butter mixture is added and turned just enough to blend. Beating is not needed, nor wanted. Lumps are good... they bring a texture that rings of home made meals on cold winter evenings.

That's it..... comfort food in it's most basic form.

Comfort... is different things to different people. For many, myself included, true comfort is a reminder of family and friends. Evenings at the dinner table, family shared laughter and simple foods. Acceptance into the fold, warming and fulfilling.

Like a big bowl of garlic mashed potatoes with melted butter welled up in the middle, slowly running down the sides.

No, a bowl of garlic smashed potatoes isn't the same as friends near, as a loved one gathered close, but it goes some of the way to filling the empty space.

And there's seconds.............


Brigid said...

I bet there's not seconds any more.

Anonymous said...

Boxed or frozen mashed potatoes are an abomination before God.

These...these are manna for the soul.