I have an interesting relationship with the potato. Some people form memories based solely on scent. I’m an eater. I remember people by what they cooked for me.
Growing up, our nanny Mary was a regular fixture in our day-to-day routines, and so when Mary passed away years ago, one food memory stood out most: Mary’s Baked Potatoes.
Mary was quirky. Besides fun field trips to the Redford Theater to watch old movies, Mary took care in making us after-school snacks. My favorite were her baked potatoes. Nothing fancy – but definitely hands-on – Mary baked small russet potatoes in the microwave until soft, cut them in half, and decorated them creatively with ketchup, mustard, and occasionally a small slice of cheese.
Not entirely nutritious, and certainly not gourmet, this small act of care made a strong impression on me, and after stumbling upon a recipe for twice baked potatoes, my spudsational memory was sparked, and I fondly remember the dear Mary Przybylski, or as I knew her, Mary Poppins.