Saturday, March 07, 2009

My Potatoes

     I once read a book all about the potato.  Aside from being delicious and able to be made into a battery for a school science project, potatoes are pretty remarkable food.  They are super nutritious and can be made in just about any way that you want.  Plus, they managed to totally embarrass a Vice-President of the United States.  Now, I am not going to get into a potato recipe brainstorm like I did with chili, but I am going to tell you that I do like the taters.  But sometimes I have problems with the way they are sold.  Sure, at your friendly local supermarket and mine you can buy potatoes by the potato, but the good deals come from those big bags of like five or seven pounds that you can take home and feed to the whole family.  Which is fine, but for a guy like me, I can't go through the big bag of potatoes without a concerted effort.  And so I've gotten myself into the situation that I am in.
     I have watched my share of episodes of Good Eats.  I have listened to my mom over the years and watched how she does things.  So I know that the best way to keep my potatoes is to keep them in a cool, dry place.  But since I lack a root cellar, and I don't really want to keep them in my hall closet with my vacuum and camping gear, I keep them in my second bedroom.  I know, this sounds strange, but there is a method to my madness, Company.  The Worldwide Headquarters is blessed with a second bedroom that I rarely use.  Since it is usually just there taking up space, I keep the radiator in the room turned off.  So when the cold north wind blows right in the poorly insulated windows it actually gets pretty cold in there.  And it's relatively dark.  I just told you that the windows face north, and now I am going to tell you that there is a big roof covering the windows.  So it's darker than my kitchen or living room or wherever.  So I thought it was the perfect place for my potatoes.  And it generally is.  They keep far longer in there than they do in my kitchen.  But it turns out that, as a food storage device, my back bedroom has the same problem as the vegetable bins in my refrigerator: it's really easy for me to forget about them.
     Yeah.  Some of you - yes - you can see where this is going.  The potatoes in question have been in my second bedroom since before I can remember.  Which means that it's been a long, long time.  And I don't know if you have ever seen what happens to potatoes when they start to get rotten but it is not pretty.  Sometimes they just grow these gross purple growths that look a little like Chinese pagodas but that's only if you are lucky.  And I, as anyone who knows me can tell you, am not lucky.  At least not lately.  So we all know that is not going to happen.  I am guessing what is going on in my spare bedroom is much, much more gross and unappealing.  Sometimes when potatoes go bad in the wrong conditions it involves a fair amount of nasty juice, the thought of which excites me because I bought the type of potato that came in a net bag, not a plastic one.  So that juice, and all that comes with it, is on my floor.  Fantastic.  Well that's great, considering that the juice came out of something that can be used to power a light bulb or one of those foam blade personal cooling fans.  That just makes me want to get right down on my hands and knees and clean the business up.  You know what else can be used to power things?  Marine batteries.  You know what kind of juice is inside of a marine battery?  Well, yes, there is water in there.  But there is also acid.  Lots of it.  So what do you think that potato juice has been doing to my hardwood floor?  For the unknown amount of time I have forgotten it?  Oh yeah.  That's right.
     Plus, eventually here one of two things is going to happen.  Either it is going to get warm and I will throw open the windows, or I will have to turn on the radiator because someone is coming to visit.  And that juice and those sorry excuses for what used to be potatoes are going to come to life.  And so are all the little critters that are inside of them all.  And, I am not going to lie, that is going to reek.  It is going to reek something fierce.  It's been so long that who knows what has developed in there?  There could be a little miniature society clinging to a chunk of potato.  There could be a full-fledged biosphere in there.  The stuff from the potato might have mutated into a gila monster.  It's not probably but it is certainly possible.  It's been that long.  I wish the Crocodile Hunter was still alive because he was just crazy enough to be willing to be the first one to go in there and see what's waiting for us.  But he's gone, and so I will have to get one of those bomb-exploding robots or something to go in there.  Maybe the Navy will let me use one of their unmanned drones.  But I've got to do something.  So tomorrow, Sunday, on my sort of day off I am going to mount an expedition of discovery to find out exactly what is going on.  It may even turn into an expedition of removal and cleanup if things are looking right.  Either way I am going in.  Wish me luck.

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