Friday, November 23, 2007

The Mechanics of Mashed Potatoes

With fifteen of us crowded around the table yesterday, I obviously didn't hear all the interesting conversations. But I learned of one while talking late into the night with Daughter.
Apparently there is a level of engineering involved in 'building' the perfect Thanksgiving plate. And her brother achieved just such a perfect plate yesterday. Daughter has always been impressed with everything big brother does; that hasn't changed in the 21 years she has been his little sister. But she was totally wowed by his construction expertise yesterday.
You begin with the mashed potatoes, piling the mound smack dab in the middle of the plate, carefully creating the perfect crater for gravy, and then adding the remaining items in a clockwise fashion around the edge of the plate until there is nary a spot of plate showing through. I understand it was truly a marvel of engineering.
But Daughter is a chip off the old block and, following in the footsteps of her father and brother, she showed her resourcefulness when, shortly into the meal, disaster struck. "My moat broke! My moat broke!" she shouted. With nary a thought for her own safety, she dived in and quickly repositioned a large chunk of stuffing that immediately staved off the tidal wave of gravy from washing over the other food items. (Not that this is a bad thing, since everything tastes better with gravy, but it's the principal of the thing.)
Stuffing is a particularly good construction material because it is already glutenous from time spent inside the turkey breast. And it works a lot better than trying to re-position mashed potatoes which is sort of like the man who built his house upon the sand, or the little piggy who built his house with straw. Just not the most stable or sturdy building material.
So now you know how to both build the perfect Thanksgiving plate AND save the day when you moat breaks.
Unless you're like my husband who just goes ahead and pours gravy over everything to begin with.
Whatever floats your boat in the gravy of life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Shrimp Spread

Baking Powder Biscuits
Banana Bread (or Cake)
Basil Garlic Bread 
Chocolate Scones 
Cranberry Orange Scones 
Creamy Polenta
German Onion Cake
Sweetness and Light Muffins

Apple Puff Pancake
Baked Oatmeal
Chocolate Scones 
Oatmeal Pancakes
Sausage Gravy
Sunnyside Egg and Sausage Casserole

Amish Baked Apples 
Banana Bread (or Cake)
BEST Brownies!
BEST Chocolate Pudding EVER
Best Darn Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
Chocolate Cinnamon Biscotti 
Chocolate Meringue Cookies
Chocolate Pudding Cake
Chocolate Scones as a base for Strawberry Shortcake
Coca-Cola Marshmallow Cake
Easy Tiramisu
Granola Bars
Lemon Squares
No Bake Cookies
Party Parfaits
Peach Cobbler
Peanut Butter Pie
Popcorn Balls
Vanilla Ice Cream

Main Dishes
Beef and Rice Good Stuff
Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens over Bow-Tie Pasta
Chicken Feta Burgers with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
Creamed Chicken Over Cornbread
Roasted Rosemary & Garlic Chicken 
Cuban Pork Roast and Sandwiches
Fettucini Alfredo
Fresh Mozzarella Penne Pasta
Green Chili Enchiladas
Honey Mustard Chicken
Italian Sub
Maple Glazed Pork Loin
Meat and Potato Quiche 
Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas
Seriously Yummy Sausage and Saurkraut
Summer Stuffed Tomatoes
Stupendously Delicious Chicken Salad

Soups and Stews
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Cold Cucumber Soup 
Homemade Tomato Soup
White Chicken Chili

All American Potato Salad
Homemade Baked Beans
Roasted Eggplant Salad
Rosti Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole 

About Food
Bologna, Pickles and Saurkraut
Culinary Arsonist
The Mechanics of Mashed Potatoes