Years ago, in one of my former lives filled with escapade and mayhem, I would wander the saloons of the West seeking adventure and a quick bit of coin playing Texas Hold ‘Em with anybody who had the cash and gumption to make it interesting. I’d made my way through all of the cities that sounded up to the challenge – Deadwood, Wichita, Tombstone – when I decided to get off the beaten path. My reputation was preceding me and finding a high-stakes table was getting harder and harder.
There are very few foods that are so universally loved and so easy to make. So why, oh why, do we buy the flash-steamed-oil-sprayed french fries in the freezer department. They are just not good. Not good at all. Why not just grab some potatoes, oil and salt and have at it. That is all you need. For about the price of one bag of Gon-Ho (does anyone get that? I worked on it for a bit), you can buy a bag of potatoes and a bottle of oil to fry enough for a small army.
I told the boys I was starting this blog to create a family “recipe book” so that if I were to die in a firey ball tomorrow, at least there would be good food at the wake (hey, they’re 8 and 9 … they love that sort of talk). They immediately went cross-eyed when I told them I would start with Pasta Fazool (pasta e fagiola for the purist). “No! No! If you die in a fiery ball, I want compost cookies!” “Me, too! Me, too!” I’m pretty sure I heard a mumbled “who likes beans anyway?” but I ignored that sacrilege and pulled out the mixer.