Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hashing Things Out -- a round about expression of gratitude


I ate Hash browns for supper, covered in fresh chunky home made salsa. (That sounds like a worthy Facebook update right there if ever there was one) Yet, I know there are those who would set me straight on this. In their great zeal and out of shepherding concern, yea for the sole purpose of saving me from the barbarosity of myself, they would point out the following; that when a potato has been desecrated by knife or chopper, and then fried into a moderately cohesive pancake, the resultant item is to be consumed at breakfast, which is the meal that coincides with the rising of the sun. Furthermore, they would point out that ketchup, not salsa, is the condiment of choice. To this, I say that they are truly missing out on a good and tasty experience, especially when the salsa is fresh! And while I might be able to persuade some of the less jaded of their number of this, they would invariably revert back to their mantra of, “But, hash browns are breakfast food!” While I will agree to disagree, I get it... or do I?

Riddle me this then, oh guardians of culinary etiquette. If the same staple tuber were to be desecrated and prepared in exactly the same (though somewhat coarser) manner, yet the remnant scraps remain separate and unconnected from each other when the time for eating has come, why then would they be deemed appropriate only for consumption at any time OTHER than breakfast? We would call these French Fries (or simply 'fries') on this side of the pond, whilst the British would staunchly declare them to be 'chips', but both parties would agree that these spuds are not breakfast fare. The only way to eat discrete pieces of fried potato for breakfast without risking accusatory glares or gasps of exasperation is to squish the shredded roots back together before frying, and call them tater tots. And yet, all the while we are talking about potatoes that were cut into strips, then fried before they met their uniformly ignominious demise. Hash browns vs. fries (chips) vs. tater tots... who decides when these things should be eaten? More importantly, who cares?!

For that matter, why is a potato cooked whole not appropriate for breakfast, while one that has been cubed, is? And don't even get me started on when they get pulverized beyond anything resembling their original form (mashed) or sliced thinly and baked (scalloped), for these too are reserved for evening, or at the very least, mid day... I used to think the thinly sliced ones were called 'scalped potatoes' because it looked like some sadistic Apache raiding party had had their way with them some time before they found their way to my plate. It's a good thing they had always been peeled, or as a young tot I might have been traumatized by those lifeless eyes staring up at me, pleading.

Decidedly NOT Mr. Potato Head
At this point, I will admit that I have hopelessly digressed. Suffice it to say that it felt fully appropriate to consume hash browns after dark. There are, in fact, several good reasons for this, and the earnest food police may kindly take their criticism elsewhere.

Most import among these reasons is that the supper was very kindly prepared for me by Charlie, who had, quite literally, been instrumental in the preparation of the salsa. He chopped and diced the onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and who knows what else to make that good stuff a reality. And after hours of doing that, he also made sure we would not go hungry. Thus, the potatoes AND the salsa were both due in large part to his efforts.

For those of you who have not met our eldest, I can assure you that he fits in well with the rest of the siblings. That is to say, he looks decidedly less Caucasian than either my wife or I. Perhaps it is best to use his own words to describe himself. He once declared, “I am Asian-American, a real rice and potatoes kind of guy!!” Perhaps that goes far in explaining the hash browns. Either way, Thank you for supper, Charlie!

1 comment:

Allan said...

You'll get no guff from me my friend. Food, good food, is appropriate at any time :)