- Ada, Oklahoma


May 29, 2013

French fries and, please, Lord, ketchup

Ada —

I’ve traveled a bit this year.  If you put it all  of my flights end to end  they would just about go around the world. In my life, I’ve been to Poland, Spain, England, Russia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. This is only counting places where I’ve slept.  (True, in Argentina it was on a bench in an airport, but I’ve eaten calf-fries there so I’m counting it.)

I am not your classical hardy traveler because I am not an adventurous eater. For example, if given a choice, I won’t eat fish and if not given a choice I won’t eat much.  But I have eaten soup that had a fish head floating in it when I was in a village on the shore of Lake Baikal. I looked it in the eye, and I ate it. I’ve also eaten something described as “fish in grease sauce” while in Poland. As Mary Poppins sang, “A shot glass of vodka helps the medicine go down...”

Throughout all these adventures, one item of food has been my consistent savior:  the potato. There was potato in that fish head soup in Russia.  There was mashed potato on the side of the fish in grease sauce in Poland.  And my last night in Spain, when I was down to my last peseta, that one peseta bought me a tortilla de patatas, which is basically fried potatoes held together with scrambled eggs.

Potatoes may in fact be my favorite food in the universe, and frying my favorite way for them to be prepared.  I’ve written a special article on my momma’s fried potatoes and I don’t want to retread too much of that ground.  Let me just say that when I was a little boy I ate so many fried potatoes my mother told me I was going wake up one morning as a potato. 

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