Wandering into the kitchen one morning last weekend, my hockey-playing, pilot husband, who is an exterminator and has a degree in Biblical studies, was vigorously chopping some food source in a frying pan on the stove. I mention his hobbies, schooling and his occupations to point out that he has no formal, or informal for that matter, training in the culinary arts. NONE! He is widely renown for his burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. So his attempt at cooking amused me initially. As I began to ascertain the situation at hand, I became highly amused…. blog-worthy-amused!
On impulse at Costco, my sweet husband, the provider for our family, purchased a skid of hashbrowns. Just look at how crispy-fried those salty morsels appear! He was probably salivating in the super store. Gluten free and 100% REAL potatoes. How could he go wrong?
Kindly I explained that the objective of hashbrown cooking is to leave them alone so they can get brown and crunchy. Smashing them to smithereens won’t get the desired results. Previously I had cooked two boxes of said Costco bulk purchase, so I was quite well-informed on the procedure.
Peering into the pan, something didn’t seem right. The limp potato strips looked dry (and smashed.) Kindly I inquired, “Did you read the directions?” It was an honest question. As soon as my question was delivered, my 13-year-old daughter, who has been trained in our kitchen by my capable side, started laughing and pointed at her dad the I-told-you-so-finger-of-doom. Seems she already mentioned reading the directions to him. That’s my girl!
Rick, Mr. Master Chef, (term used very sarcastically) opened the little carton of goodness and dumped the freeze-dried potatoes in the hot frying pan. He realized something was off. His spidey senses alerted him to the need for butter. In went a dollop of creamy yellow goodness. Butter is the answer to SO MANY cooking situations.
THEN he proceeded to read the directions. And I’ll admit, the instructions for this delicacy are unusual. 1. Open carton and add hot water to the fill line. 2. Close carton and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain well.
Things were off to a poor start. The pan he had chosen was obviously too small if water was to be added, so he switched to a larger pan. (The only reason I know this is because I discovered a small frying pan in the sink with the remains of burnt freeze-dried potatoes stuck to its non-nonstick bottom.) It was too late to add water to the carton full of spuds, so he added water to the frying pan full of crunchy strips and butter. It said HOT water, so the stove burner was turned to HIGH, obviously. Just like whipping up a grilled cheese sandwich to quality blackness.
Disclaimer: my daughter filled me in on this whole process after the fact so this is all hearsay.
Okay, thinking he was good, he went back to the directions. 3. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet and 2 TBSP. oil over medium-high heat. So, FAIL on the non-stick part. Next oil was poured over the soggy white, limp, smashed potato strips. Doesn’t this make you want to have some???
This is when I wandered in… to witness the mutilation of the oily, half-saturated delicacy. Kindly I probed to see what oil he used. There are four oils in my cupboard: coconut, olive, sesame and vegetable. He had a 75% chance of success. Again, my daughter who loves home-ec informed me in a Dad-is-so-busted tone, “He used butter from your bowl. The one you measured to make cookies.” Ooooh, there are several things that could make this mama go all kinds of crazy on you. Using my softened butter that is measured in a bowl for baking is one of them. And she knew he knew better! That’s my girl. Again the finger-of-doom was pointed at the perpetrator.
It’s doubtful if he ever did read 4. Fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Kindly I offered to show him how to divide the pan of scrumptiousness into thirds and flip them to golden brown perfection.
Surprisingly, they tasted okay.
The moral of the story is: When at first you don’t succeed, fry fry again.
Or: Touch mama’s measured butter and die a slow death of much pain. (Kindly I let him live.)