Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Volcano

For as long as I can remember, I've eaten my mashed potatoes by piling them up, carving a little hole in them and filling the hole up with gravy. It just makes sense. This way, you get maximum efficient use of your plate (especially important in buffet situations) with minimum risk of gravy infiltration to other food – just gross (half of you are now sitting there nodding "oh, that's just obvious"; the other three are face-palming "WTF? You are bent lady!" that second half of you can just bite me)

Growing up, my family mostly ignored accepted this. I have received some blank stares and probably some rolled eyes when I wasn't looking. Mostly, just "oh, that Harmzie – has to make her little mashed potato volcano!" They openly mock me (NB: this is just regular, every day, normal family interaction - it's why I have the stomach for the Internet) – albeit quietly – but I'm certain they realize the genius of my arrangement as I see them Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner after Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner, their little piles of mashed potatoes sporting increasingly larger divots in their tops. They make sure their gravy runs over so it doesn't look like they did it on purpose, but I'm watching...

My girls noticed this early in their mashed potato consumerism phases. Not having the years of family politics and baggage to impede them, they quickly embraced the brilliance of The Volcano. Mashed potatoes are one of their favourite and most highly anticipated foods in the dinner cycle. Sadly, Stewie will not eat mashed potatoes, even with the entertainment they bring to the table [snort].

Usually, they are content with piling the potatoes, smooshing out the hole and watching the gravy fill the void until it *just* runs over the edge – the smaller the trickle, the better (this whole issue may actually be the reason Pepper did her volcano project last spring). The other night though, things were a little more... interesting.

I had built the perfect volcanoes for each of them. I mean, textbook. One tiny stream of lava running down a craggy mountain face. Pepper took her fork (she used a fork! I'm so proud) and grabbed a tiny blob of potatoes and put it smack in the lava's path.

"Oh no! The lava is heading right for the city!"

Norah quickly followed, noting a city in her lava stream. "Oh... they're toast"

Pepper was madly trying to save her city by redirecting lava flows. I noted her city was right on the edge of her plate. "You know," I commented, "as the chief engineer, if any lava gets on the table, YOU'RE the one responsible – and in big trouble." She looked at me blankly. "You can *direct* your lava flows. Do you see how your sister's city is toward the middle of her plate?" More blank. "Don't get gravy on the table!"

Norah had moved on. "Look Pepper, my volcano has exploded, taken out the city and is now a delicious lava and ash tornado"

Throughout all of this – including the naming of Mount Potato, Mount Chick(en), Mount Bean (we had green beans, too), plus a dozen more including Mount Norah, Mount Pepper, Mount Stewie, as well as each of their friends on our street AND in school... AND several other food varieties we were not having that night... – Stewie was watching intently while gnawing on his drumstick – the only thing from this delicious and entertaining supper to pass his lips. At one point, he stood in his chair and announced that he would have some mashed potatoes too, but that he didn't want to eat them. Before I had a chance to shoot him down in a fiery ball of momtastic you-can't-have-food-JUST-to-play-with-it, BOTH Pepper and Norah chimed in with a matter-of-fact "No, you can`t just play with a volcano, you have to eat it too"

"Oh," he replied, and sat back down, continuing to watch & gnaw on his drumstick.

And I just wrote an entire post about mashed potatoes.

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  1. I hate to break it to you, but you're not the only one who digs a hole in the middle of their potatoes for gravy. (Of course, that was when I MADE mashed potatoes, as neither my wife nor child like them.)

  2. I can't stand when my food infiltrates so I'm so on board with this. You know how people (like my husband) mix their corn or peas with their mashed potatoes and eat it that way? That makes me want to stab myself in the throat.

  3. oh that post was s"mashing" :0

  4. those poor villagers. oh WHEN will they learn?? LEAVE THE DAMN ISLAND, VILLAGERS!! YOU'RE GOING TO DIE A FIERY YUMMY GRAVY DEATH.

    i used to be one of those people who never let different foods touch each other. there was a lot of tension and nutritional divide amongst my foods, until one day i said, "to hell with it!!" and started letting the food groups intermingle. now, my dinners are much more harmonious. and gravy? gravy is the warm brown silky blanket that covers all. it's okay to touch each other under the gravy blanket.

  5. You've seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, haven't you?

    This means something. It's important.

    Now you know how people see you when you're playing with your potatoes. I'm just letting you know, I thought you should hear it from a friend first.

  6. and here the only mashed anything i could think of was the corn mash i use in the still!!! good thing i don't have any gravy there, but if energy input goes wrong woo hoo look out volcano!!!