Beware the Roast Potatoes: Addiction Warning
A magnet for potatoes and pig. This girl lusts after the perfect roast potatoes that are both creamy on the inside and crispy with a deep crunch on the outside.
The first time is always memorable. It was made by a European woman. Let’s just call her Stella. Her potatoes are pan fried in a heavy cast iron skillet. Yes, strange to call them roast in the first place, I know.
So, we sit in her kitchen waiting. The roast pork with crispy skins, losing its appeal and crunch by the second. The rest of the dinner party eye it longingly whilst it rests.
What’s that? This greedy little piglet rolls her eyes so far back that she almost sprains the ligaments.
So she exaggerates a little. So what?
That’s Stella, not Julia Childs mucking around the stove, draining the parboil potatoes. The steam rising above the sink and forming a cloud of mist. No she didn’t look like an angel. An apparition of sorts, yes. Angel, a definite No.
She lets is drain. The rest of the dinner party drinking and making polite conversation. Some drape themselves near her kitchen counter. A few rest their elbows on her kitchen island watching a salad being made and tossed.
More chatter. This girl is getting hungrier by the minute. Wine on an empty stomach aggravates her delicate tummy. She should have had a pre-dinner snack at home. Or on the way. Or was there a half-eaten granola bar in her purse.
Search, search, rummage. None.
Politely starve. Weak smile. More innate banter.
The potatoes drained, Stella puts her heavy dutycast iron skillet on the heat. This girl didn’t know that skillets have lineage.
Only the cast iron ones.
So the story of inheritance was retold as the butter melts and browns.
Then Stella lifts the round bottom colander (with reducing holes) by its ears and pours the contents into that skillet. It sizzles.
She salts it without turning over even once. This girl is completely transfixed.
Aiyah, sure burn la!
Stella uses a potato masher of sort and presses down gently. This girl fancies that to be akin to making batik prints.
Stella applies a grid of squares, making equal-size squares and spaces, and then dips the masher thingy into clarified butter to have another go.
The thoughts we have to amuse ourselves in polite company. Sigh.
She turns them over. Darn food porn. Everyone’s watching aptly.
This is like watching bread rise. Same satisfaction, I suppose. Or the same irritation as finding a dandelion poking its head from a recently rooted patch or growing between patio bricks.
The spud hiss back crisping up nicely. Stella laughs heartily at some joke. She salts again and sprinkles minced garlic and rosemary over them. The aroma hits us.
Tantalize our taste buds and sense of smell is as beautiful as its perfect aroma and wonderful taste. Or some prose to that effect.
When can we eat? There’s a scream rising.
Stella turns that damn skillet. They tumble out, golden brown studded with garlic bits and prettied with rosemary. The sound of the crunch is incredible. It scrapes the serving dish. It was a split second that I saw it. Before the flurry of hands, crowding and the rest of the dinner party literary carrying the star dish to the dining table.
Was Stella carried out too?
I pared it open. That humble spud, now glorified. Unbelievably loud crunch, almost a rude noise. Its inside is incredibly warm and exceptionally soft, snowy: ascribed to cashmere.
The butter smells so unbelievably good. It was enormous, succulent and appetizing. I wolf it down and burn the roof of my mouth.
It was worth it.
What about the pig, you mentioned earlier?
Oh that. Well, let’s just say that’s another story about making Christmas Dinner with the cousins.
Doris Lim is a popular freelance writer who blogs as Little Fish on travel and food stories here. Be sure to check out her other inspiring stories and follow her Instagram @SmartDoryID & Facebook to check out more places to eat delicious street foods or dine in the best restaurants!