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Fried Mashed Potatoes

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Unfortunately, these were all eaten before they could be flattened and fried for a photo shoot Unfortunately, these were all eaten before they could be flattened and fried for a photo shoot

The Hawk's Nest

Well it looks like another holiday season is on us. I know you are saying, “Wait, Halloween was just here.”  

Well, you are right, but let me tell you about what happened at the Hawk’s Nest this year. Back on a Saturday in the middle of October was the only day several of us relatives could get together. Of course, we didn’t pass up the chance to be family so we decided to have Thanksgiving. Someone once said in addition to celebrating Thanksgiving we should also practice Thanks-living. It looks like this way there will be two Thanksgivings this year at the Hawks Nest with a lot of thanks-living in between and after. 

I bet by now you know why this piece is titled “Fried Mashed Potatoes.” A by-product of any holiday meal is leftovers, and one of my favorites is mashed potatoes. As usual during the mashing process, if I’m allowed in the kitchen, there is a discussion concerning the right amount of butter used. I hear one teaspoon or one tablespoon or a half a cube. I have a very simple solution. There isn’t enough butter in the spuds until there isn’t any left in the house. 

In my humble opinion (okay I’ve never had a humble opinion in my life; many opinions but never a humble one) mashed potatoes are supposed to be yellow. If somehow the proper amount of butter (yes, butter) is not used in the preparation, it can be corrected at the table. That is, if the cholesterol cops can be distracted long enough to allow me to clean up the butter dish and put it all on my helping of potatoes. 

Holiday meals were never intended to be healthy—another of my humble opinions. I read a headline the other day saying eight glasses of water will detoxify you. So eat what you want and drink eight glasses a day. It’s sounds like it works kind of like confession. I didn’t read the article of course, but I liked the headline. 

Back to our meal. Somehow the bowl of white fluffy was just that—white. 

I fixed it at the table. 

Our wonderful niece from Montana, Wendy, wanted to learn how to make turkey stuffing. Ana said she would make her popular stuffing.  Wendy brought some gluten-free bread and wondered if it could be used in the dish. This sounded really scary to me, but it was close to Halloween. 

A little background now. I was raised by a Swedish mother who grew up on a Midwest farm. My father’s family farmed in the Midwest for several generations, and also learned to eat what they grew: meat and potatoes. I grew up in the Inland Northwest in a town surrounded by wheat and cattle ranches. My dad worked in agri-business. In other words, I was an adult before I ever heard the word “gluten,” so couldn’t possibly know what gluten-free was, or that it was good. 

You can imagine my concern when our lovely relative showed up and suggested we make something as traditional as turkey stuffing gluten free. I was sure it was sacrilege, and Thanksgiving is practically a religious holiday. 

Another tradition is the turkey stuffing is supposed to be delicious; this is very important. Guess what? (Boy this is hard to say.) That gluten-free stuffing was absolutely delicious. 

After the white (turned yellow at the table) potatoes and the turkey and stuffing were gone, Wendy then announced she had brought regular and gluten-free pumpkin pie. Now this was pushing it a bit far. I started by trying a piece of the traditional one. After a good-sized sample, which was great, I tried the gluten free. I’m not much into conspiracies but something is up here. It tasted great, too. I’m telling you my father and mother are shaking their ashes in the niche where they forever are. 

There was, of course, whipped cream for the pies. Now, that is another necessary conversation. How much sugar goes in the whipped cream? Do you want another one of my humble opinions? When there is no more sugar in the kitchen you almost have enough. That doesn’t just go for whipped cream. 

My voice may as well have been shouting in the wilderness when I shared that thought. 

You may be shaking your head and saying, “poor man is surly going to die young.”  Well at each physical I have every spring my blood pressure is perfect, my cholesterol is better than that of most vegetarians and my blood sugar is right on. 

I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t know enough to worry about. 

Now we get to the leftovers, and fried mashed potatoes, I’ll give you my famous secret recipe. 

Heat a griddle or frying pan. Put lots of butter in it. Make sure that measurement is lots. Make the potatoes into a cake about the size of you hand. Add salt and maybe onions and fry until dark brown on each side. Serve with a large spoonful of butter melting on top. Of course, that’s just my humble opinion.

Joy and laughter filled our first Thanksgiving this year. It was the first one for ten-month-old Alice. Around the table was a mix of young adults to grandparents. The food featured both traditional recipes and new ones used for the first time. Every part of the day seemed to be a blend of old and new. I think that is what a family holiday is supposed to be. I’ll give thanks for that. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Hawk’s Nest.  

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

Tagged as:

Family, food, Thanksgiving, fried mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, whipped cream, gluten free

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