I have issues: Part 1 — Potato Skins

Throughout my day I’m bombarded with memories that make me feel inadequate. That how I do something is wrong in some way. One of these memories is of a conversation I had with my mother-in-law. It was completely in passing and I’m sure she never remembered it after the conversation, but I did remember it. I’m hoping that getting it out in the open will take it away forever.

My husband and I like mashed potatoes with the skin intact. It probably started with my belief that the most nutritious part of the potato was in the skin — or perhaps it was just laziness, but our preference stuck for many years. Once, either just talking to my mother-in-law or cooking with her, I mentioned that we never skinned our potatoes before boiling & mashing/whipping them. She seemed surprised, then made a scrubbing motion with her hands and said, “So, first you scrub them very well…”

I suspect she then went on to describe the process she imagined we went through to make these mashed potatoes with skin, but I was stuck at, “So, first you scrub them very well…”

Well, I thought, I rinsed them, yeah, but scrub? Not always. I made sure they didn’t have eyes, rinsed them, cut them into smaller pieces, boiled them with a clove or two of garlic & then whipped them with butter & milk. But I didn’t really scrub them. Why? Were there really bad things on them if I didn’t really scrub them?

So now, whenever I make potatoes of any kind that still includes the skin — mashed, baked, boiled — I think of that conversation and my stomach tightens. And I really don’t know why it does. I doubt my mother-in-law thought I served my family unclean food. I think she was just trying to imagine what she would do if she served mashed potatoes with skins.

Whatever the case, we have a lot of rice and pasta these days. No scrubbing there.

10 thoughts on “I have issues: Part 1 — Potato Skins

  1. (Here through the NaBloPoMo randomiser.)

    Presumably she’s thinking of potatoes that come muddy, rather than prewashed? I hear those are better, but they tend to be less available, where I am at least.

    I don’t bother to scrub (or peel) non-muddy potatoes either. Like you, I just cut out eyes or bits that don’t look so good, and procede from there.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Inspirations =-.


  2. Everyone needs more dirt INSIDE their bodies. Did cavewomen care about this? No Way! I cook ’em in dirt to give it that high mineral flava. There are way many more things to freak out about, so hush! Be gone that memory and let yourself fly about more important things. Burp!


  3. Hmmm. I am my mother’s daughter; I always use a veggie brush on potatoes before I cook them if they aren’t peeled. The ones I buy don’t seem so clean.


  4. Ugh, little comments like that stick with me, too, even if the person surely didn’t mean for it to!

    If your potatoes haven’t made you sick by now, I’m sure you’re doing just fine with them. 😉


  5. Hmm, Bridgett — had not heard about fungicide on potatoes.

    TGE — thanks for the visit & comment. I remember my grandmother calling soil “good dirt” vs germs which were “bad dirt”. She meant that I had to wash my hands before I ate, but eating a carrot directly from the garden without rinsing it was perfectly fine.

    Diane — Sometimes I see little specks of brown or black on a potato skin and try to get that off, but I don’t know if that is dirt or just part of the skin. Lately however, we’ve been peeling our potatoes when we are going to have mashed potatoes because I bought a potato ricer and it’s much easier to use that when the potatoes are peeled.

    Melissa — thanks for visiting & for the comment. Yeah, I think we’re fine not scrubbing potatoes.


  6. I challenge you to eat a carrot directly from the garden without washing it. I do not believe you could avoid impulsively washing it off or at least rinsing it.

    Rabbits do that every day and they are no worse for it.


  7. TGE: Not that I get to hang around and take food from gardens much anymore, I have eaten carrots directly from the ground in the past. I brushed off most of the soil, but didn’t rinse. Not sure if I’d do that today.


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