Every family has its own way with potatoes. Growing up, my mom would buy frozen potato latkes, heat them up in the toaster, and serve them with Mott’s apple sauce (you can hear all about it on my mom’s episode of Lunch Therapy). Most families, I’d venture, are mashed potato families. Some do it from a box, others from scratch.
Here at Chez Amateur Gourmet, we’re a roasted potato family. Specficially: pee-wee potatoes roasted with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sometimes with spices thrown in (smoked paprika, cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds).
My mom may not cook, but she’s an absolute authority when it comes to eating out at restaurants. She and my dad eat out almost every night of the week and they do so with a real zest for excitement and experience; they love to patronize busy restaurants, especially ones that are hard to get into. Which is why I had the idea to call my mom, this morning, to ask her for her tips on getting into an impossible-to-get-into restaurant. What follows is her top secret advice.
The last time I wrote about dishes on this blog it was in April 2008 when I wrote a post called “Meet The Plates.”Serious Eats was amused and linked to it in a post called “Adam Roberts’s Quirky, Idiosyncratic Plates.” The idea back then, in 2008, was that each of my guests at dinner would be given a uniquely patterned plate that possibly reflected how I felt about them (if you were given a flower, it meant that I thought you were virginal; if you were given golf clubs, it meant that I thought you were a lesbian.)
But times have changed and I’ve changed with them. The time had come for new plates and today, with a little help from my mom, I finally bought them.
Certainly any celebration of “The Amateur Gourmet” has to include an acknowledgment of my parents. Many of you, in your kind congratulatory e-mails to me, said the posts with my parents were your favorite posts of them all; and, in many ways, my love of dining out and my eagerness to try new places comes directly from them. In fact, a day doesn’t pass when my mom doesn’t e-mail something about a new restaurant with the question, “Have you heard of this?”
More importantly, the fact that you’re reading this at all right now is partially due to my mom. When I got into NYU’s Dramatic Writing program, after finishing law school and just a few months into starting this blog, I told my mom I was going to stop blogging. “I want to concentrate fully on playwriting,” I told her. “I wouldn’t stop blogging,” my mom advised. “You never know, it might get even bigger than it is now.” And, most definitely, that was some pretty good advice.
I’m going to call my parents right now to conduct a little Q&A with them about their history with “The Amateur Gourmet,” where it’s been and where it’s going.
Part one: my mom calls on Friday night, two weeks ago, and says: “Bloomingdale’s is having a sale on appliances; you and Craig really should go there tonight.”
“Mom, we’re not going to Bloomingdale’s on a Friday night.” Actually, I’m not going to Bloomingdale’s any night, it’s just not a night time activity. Or, for that matter, a daytime activity. I’m not big on department stores.
“Well is there anything you need?” she asks. “Any appliances?”
The only appliance I’ve been desiring, as of late, is a new food processor. My old food processor, a Hamilton Beach model, was purchased from Target six years ago for $15 and is cracked on all sides. So a new food processor would be nice.