Potatoes, potahtos, let's call the whole thing off

By Anne Lamott
February 24, 1996 11:12PM (UTC)
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Sam, stop ringing the doorbell, later you and your
young friend can be raucous like when you're 16, but right
now I am trying to talk to Arthur.

First you should know that children do not like
potatoes; it's all on the lists of the things kids won't
eat. That's because children don't know French Fries are
potatoes; they think a French Fry is a special kind of


So you have to keep this mind when I tell you that I
had my friends Bill and Adair over for dinner, and Anne
Lamott the feminist huntress went down to get Chinese take-out because to tell you the truth I don't cook very much. I
also got baguettes and cheese and we were sitting in my
living room eating this very acceptable pre-dinner foodstuff
when Sam and his friend Jack appeared, and they each had a
knife and a potato, and they were peeling the potatoes.

I should say that I do buy potatoes from time to time
because I think I'm going to cook them but I don't get
around to it and they form tendrils and it's all very
spiritual and I give them to Jesus eventually, that's the
way I look at it.

So then Sam and Jack got the untwisted metal
coathangers that we use for roasting marshmallows and they
put the peeled potatoes on the coat hangers and stuck them
over the fire in the fireplace for about 45 seconds. And
then they disappeared into the kitchen and Sam said, "OK,
don't come in."


So we sat making light conversation and hardly
wondering what was going on, and then Sam yelled, "Mom,
what's a good dipping sauce for potatoes?" -- he's a very
advanced child -- and I yelled back "ketchup" because as I
said I'm not very much of a cook.

So some more time passed and then Sam appeared with a
huge plate just heaped with slices of raw potatoes that were
burned black at the very edges, and on each slice was a
dollop of ketchup, and this was all surrounded by Pringles
potato chips and because I have many friends in the food
service industry, also orange slices.

Then he said: "And that's not all!"


So he went back in the kitchen and I took a huge
handful of raw potatoes and stuffed them in my pocket and
probably stained my jeans with ketchup, I haven't had the
heart to look, and when Sam came back out I said, "Oh, those
were really good," and then right behind Sam came his friend
Jack with a huge plate of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches
and right in the middle of the sandwiches was a mound of
unpeeled bananas.

Bill and Adair and I really did eat some of the
sandwiches and the bananas even though I had paid big money
for the Chinese food that was getting glutinous in its
little cartons out in the kitchen. And Sam asked, "Were the
potatoes really good?" and I said, "Oh yes, honey," so he
took a bite of this raw potato with the burned outside and
the dollop of ketchup and he chewed it and he said, "I guess
I still don't like potatoes."

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of "Help, Thanks, Wow"; "Small Victories"; "Stitches"; "Some Assembly Required"; "Grace (Eventually)"; "Plan B"; "Traveling Mercies"; "Bird by Bird"; "Operating Instructions" and "Hallelujah Anyway," out April 4. She is also the author of several novels, including "Imperfect Birds" and "Rosie." A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.

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