You say Pot-ay-to

I say po-tah-to. Let’s call the whole thing off.

At 19 I got a college apartment with five other gals. First day I made dinner and said I had to be on a corner because I’m leftie and don’t want to elbow anyone in the ribs. They were ALL lefties. We got our own softball team named Lefties, Inc. and made it to the finals because nobody showed up for our games! Of course I was pitcher.

That first night we found out no-one knew how to cook, anything. I think cereal and milk might have been a challenge. I said they had to learn breakfast, eat lunch at the college cafeteria and I’d make dinner every night.

Caveats were that I would provide a list and they would shop. I would prep and cook, they would set the table, clean up and do dishes.

Then one day three other gals came to live with us (one bulimic, so enlightening to see all the food in our frig going down the toilet) and two guys from upstairs who came over to play Uno most evenings started staying for dinner so I was cooking for eleven with a budget for six. That was probably $60 per week. With the others we stretched it to $120.

I asked the gals to get me a 50# bag of potatoes. They came back and said cans were on sale for $.20 apiece. The list was going to pieces. I decided to drive the cart and the list and they could grab things off the shelves as I called them out. It worked.

We ate simple food. Mom’s pasta with a bit of beef, noodles and tomato sauce, chicken thighs with caramelized onions, occasionally a dessert. I never washed a dish, spoon, pot or pan in that place. They were happy. I was happy.

My mother was not happy because mise en place (everything in its’ place before cooking) allowed me to cook but use every dish in her place while visiting, then I had to clean everything!

Hey, Guy Fieri, when I was 19 I could have excelled at Grocery Games! Now I go daily to a high-end grocery and choose what I want as to what is fresh. Fruits, shishito peppers, lemongrass. And my butchers are beyond compare. Don’t ask, Guy. I’m too old to run with a cart.  And my old dog would have to be outside the window asking for me to be eliminated so I could take her home to Napping Dog Press. Cheers! Dee

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