Monday, November 29, 2021

I am a connoisseur of potatoes

Poem Day 29

Thanks to for the use of the photo of Idaho spuds.

I am a connoisseur of potatoes

Potatoes or spuds grow naturally in Idaho.
Sometimes, I think someone planted them
there right after the volcanic ash turned into
this deep rich soil that loves potatoes,
coos them to grow big and delicious
and grow they do, feeling right at home
with hot days and cool high desert evenings.

I picked spuds as a kid, filling
those rubberized wired baskets x 2
for about seven cents a sack.
Our lunches probably cost us more
than what we made, but the moon pies were great,
washed down with Shasta Tiki Punch.

I have eaten potatoes in so many ways—
baked, fried, cut up in French fries drenched
in olive oil and sprinkled with ranch powder
and baked in the oven, au gratin, cheesy potatoes,
fake potatoes made from pearl flakes,
(on gloomy days renamed funeral potatoes),
boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy,
hash browns, crinkle cut, potato chips,
and even raw potatoes with lots of salt
when you are hungry out moving
sprinkler pipe on a sweltering day.

On wet lines, you could literally bury your hand
deep into the sandy soil, feel around
for a new potato, gently freeing it
from its root, not disturbing the others,
wash it off in the sprinkler water, probably not as sanitary
as mother would have liked, pulled out
your Morton mini-salt shaker,
kept in your back pocket for opportune times
like these, sprinkling on an appropriate amount of salt,
and biting into it, savoring and mincing a bit
the crispness and raw flavor of spuds.

I have to say, though, baked potatoes are my favorite,
topped with all the accoutrements of fine dining:
chili, onions, cheese, sometimes broccoli or cauliflower,
some butter but mostly ranch dressing, a smidge
of sour cream, with a boiled egg cut delicately
and sprinkled on top of the whole potato.
Of course, I never liked the skins—
I know where they have been.
Some say the skins are the best part…Really?
These people must be from another planet.

I just like the white fluffy innards of baked Russets
with all those ingredient smooshed together.
There is something about the delicate naturalness
of spuds, no matter how you cook them.
I guess you could say I am a connoisseur of potatoes,
commonly known as spuds in eastern Idaho.

Photo by Dennis Hammon of Dennis Hammon Photograph
The Menan Buttes: a view from Rexburg

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