"Then let's buy some potatoes and make our own. It'll be fun."
We buy a three-pound bag of russets for $3.68--eight potatoes.
"How many should we cook, Mom? Five?"
"I'd say six. I usually made more when I could do such things by myself."
"I need to wash the spuds."
"After I finish the lunch dishes."
I sit and read for a bit. Washing a few dishes is something Mom likes to do because her poor hearing and eyesight don't get in the way. I wash up the pots and pans and leave a few for her. I suspect that when I'm not looking she re-washes some of the cookware, though. "When you stop doing, that's when you get yourself in trouble," she says.
"Want me to peel for you?" Mom asks.
"That's OK. I'm good at peeling potatoes." When my first wife was receiving radiation therapy, the only thing she could easily eat for some time was mashed potatoes. I peeled a lot of spuds.
I peel the potatoes and put them to cooking.
"Oh! We need hard-boiled eggs," Mom says.
"Already boiled them, Mom, and have them in cold water."
"Here, you can chop the onions and pickles while the potatoes boil. Save yourself some time."
"Good idea, Mom."
I dice the onions and pickles. "You think the potatoes are done? Here's a fork to poke them with."
"A little bit longer."
"OK, I'll go four more minutes. That'll make twenty minutes." I dice the two eggs.
"Do you put the potatoes in cold water? You know better than me. I've made more macaroni salad than potato salad."
"No, just drain them. Yes, I have made a lot of potato salad. Macaroni salad is easier."
I drain the potatoes and then transfer them to a cool pot. Mom peers into the pot and then feels with her hand.
"I'm letting them cool some before putting them in the frig."
"Oh, just put them in! We can't wait all afternoon. It'll be night before we're done."
In they go, and then later Mom has them out, cubing the potatoes. "It's getting late. Almost two o'clock. They're warm, but that's OK."
She cubes them by touch and then hands me the bowl. "You can mix. You'll need two spoons." I take that to mean I'm not to use my hands for mixing.
I mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and diced ingredients, add some salt and pepper, a little milk to moisten.
"How's this taste, Mom?"
"Add some ranch dressing to spice it up a little."
A little goes in, less than she'd use, I'm sure, but I want to eat some, too. "How's that taste?"
"Better. OK, put it in the frig to cool."
Dinner for Mom: steamed broccoli, potato salad, and a hotdog and bun.
"You make a great potato salad, Mom.
"I didn't make it--you did. I just cubed the potatoes."
"All I did was what you told me to do. That makes it your potato salad."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Mom says, but she's smiling.
Copyright 2013 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved