What does the history of the Irish Potato Famine have to do with my family?
I’m so glad you asked. Let me tell you a story.
Sometime ago, between 1 week or 5. I’m not sure I keep count the same anymore. Thank you, Quarantine.
I made a mostly sarcastic comment to my husband about me needing to create a list of Frequently Asked Questions for our family. I usually answer a few hundred questions a day and many of them are the same question on repeat. I enjoy raising inquisitive children, but I am also trying to teach them to listen the first time I answer. I do reach a point when I say “I’m done answering this question. You may come back with a different one.” I’m finding that middle ground, or at least I’m trying to.
I am working on getting our new family schedule pinned down and posted for the upcoming school year, because that does take care of a good portion of questions. I have had family rules posted around the house at different times too and it is helpful. We are all forgetful creatures and visible reminders benefit us. I was mulling this all over and joking about my stack of Frequently Asked Question cards one day, while dishing up potatoes for dinner, and my husband asked this question:
“Was it called the Irish Potato Famine because they didn’t have any potatoes, or because they only had potatoes?”
Fair question, but I busted up laughing because this man has asked that question nearly half of the times I have served potatoes in our marriage. We have been married for over 6 years and I’d say we eat potatoes once a week, on average. This is not an uncommon occurrence.
Through my laughter I explained the history to him, of the Irish Potato Famine and his repetitive asking of that question. We both got a good chuckle out of it. He has had to remind me of things multiple times too, I’ve learned that is just part of marriage. We have a whiteboard in our home specifically to help us remember things that the other has requested. Life can move like a whirlwind and the details fly out the window if we don’t manage them carefully.
I was not, truthfully, upset about the repated question but I did take the opportunity to tease him. After all a healthy marriage is built on faith, trust, and sarcasm. Right?
I served dinner the other night. Baked potatoes, topped with pulled pork, and I had this lovely reading material available for him. A daily menu and a brief overview of the potato famine. I’ll let you know in 50 years or so if my sarcasm theory is correct, but he was quite entertained by this.
The truth is we all need reminders and we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves. I’m thanking my lucky stars that I am married to a man with a sense of humor and for the tastiness of potatoes. Boiled, mashed, stuck in a stew, or baked with a crispy-skinned goodness.
That’s all for the story.
If, however, you aren’t sure how to get that restaurant style, crisp-skin potato. Read on.
The main thing you need to know. Don’t wrap them in foil. That is technically a steamed potato, not a baked potato. Foil cooks potatoes by sealing in heat from all around and cooking with steam, baked potatoes require radiant heat.
So Step 1- Preheat your oven to 425*
Step 2- Wash and scrub those taters.
Step 3- Poke holes so they don’t explode. Unless you enjoy science experiments and oven cleaning. In which case, knock yourself out.
Step 4- Rub them down with olive oil and salt and pepper.
- I use Lawry’s seasoning salt and black pepper.
- If you are cooking with a small child, you may find them dipping the potatoes in oil and salt and licking it off. Do with that what you will, but probably don’t serve to your guests.
Step 5- Bake for 30 minutes, rotate potatoes, bake for another 30 minutes. Test the largest potato with a fork to ensure the center is soft.
Step 6- Enjoy with your favorite toppings; butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, chives, chili, or pulled pork. Seriously, try this. So gooood.