Papa y papas.
Last weekend brought Mother's Day, our first harvest of cut flowers, and a successful Sunday farmer's market (turns out, Galvestonians are into flowers in cans). Last weekend also brought my father's birthday, which though I did not ignore privately, I chose not to blab from the virtual rooftops.
However, I'd like to dedicate today's writing to my pops, for one reason:
I can think of no better vegetable to honor my father that the potato, except for maybe the cabbage--but let's avoid the "Dad = fart jokes" trope for now. Although trust me, I've got a heavy arsenal.
My Dad is a master at turning the mundane, the routine and the everyday into fun. As a kid, he entertained needy 5 year-old me with rabid searches for the "perfect nose-shaped pebble" in the backyard and loud, brassy numbers belted with the windows down detailing the view on our ride to school. (Which was humorous, but also wickedly embarrassing.) I was thrilled to no end with scavenger hunts that had me thumbing through our dusty encyclopedia set, crawling inside the washing machine and twirling in circles around the birdbath. I was dirty a lot.
Dad taught me about infusing joy into whatever you do , even the tasks that don't seem like they should be inherently fun, and relishing with almost obscene giddiness those that are. Playing a boardgame with my father is to do battle with a Mad Hatter of Bliss, tossing caution and "Sorry!" pawns to the wind like a maniac. And he always wins. It's so irritating.
So, how does this relate to the humble potato?
Well, to the uninitiated out there, digging potatoes is a truly magical act. Sweaty and exhausting and none too short on the fireants, but nonetheless magical.
You plunk the little papas in their furrows while the weather is still coolish (a hilarious joke for us Texans), cover 'em up, wait a few months, and then bust out your spades, shovels and pitchforks.
Foot pushes in the shovel, earth gets turned over and
Magic happens. Those potatoes you plunked have generated MORE potatoes, and there they are, dangling from the mothership. But imagine it less gross than that.
Imagine it like this:
It's the ultimate Easter Egg Hunt, one I know Dad would appreciate. Again and again, you pull up plants and dig into soil to discover smooth fresh-smelling potatoes, more and more until you have these colorful nests of carbohydrates smiling back up at you. It's fun, and who woulda thunk?
Digging these potatoes fills me with joy and makes me feel like a 5 year old, turning the ordinary into a game. And lucky for us, this game results in dinner and goodness we can share with others.
We're eating well these days, and tonight's buttery potatoes are for you, Dad. Insert fart joke here.