You say potato, I say gooey, delicious mess

I opened my lunch bag and made a horrible discovery. It was awful. Tragic.

I snatched up my phone and called my wife at home. “Somebody stole my barbecue pork! My barbecue pork is missing!”

Terry made those soothing, clucking sounds a wife makes when she fails to grasp the enormity of the crisis just documented by her husband. “I didn’t pack the barbecue pork. You have turkey.”

“You what?” I couldn’t believe this woman. Wasn’t she the same lady who during a wedding ceremony vowed her honor, respect and devotion? Did she not take those marital promises seriously?

I tried to make her understand: “Without the barbecue sauce, there’s nothing to put over the mashed potatoes.”

“You have turkey.”

“Exactly. No gravy. No sauce. Not even butter. Just plain ol’ turkey. And naked mashed potatoes.”

Terry slipped into that tone of voice a wife uses when it’s her opinion that her husband sounds like a petulant 4-year-old. “It’s very simple. You mix the turkey with the mashed potatoes.”

The woman had lost her mind.

I rummaged through the emergency supplies I keep at work. “You’re in luck. I found a bottle of French dressing. I’m pouring that over the potatoes and turkey. They’re edible now.”

“Have you lost your mind?” She sighed. “I have some mashed potatoes left. You can have it with your barbecue pork tomorrow.”

“Good.”

“I’ll drain it for you. I don’t know where you picked up that bowl of pork for your lunch but it’s drowning in a lake of barbecue sauce. It was too goopy to pack today.”

“No!” I yelled. “That’s WHY you can use it on potatoes. You have to have LOTS of barbecue sauce.”

“That’s not how they do it in the South,” Terry said. “They just lightly glaze the pork.”

“You can’t taste the barbecue sauce that way,” I said.

“Exactly.”

“I DON’T LIVE IN THE SOUTH!”

Terry shuddered. I never knew until then that shudders can be heard across the phone waves. “If you want to ruin perfectly good potatoes, fine. I can’t believe anyone can stomach that much sugar.”

“It’s not sugar,” I said. “It’s extra thick, extra dark sweet honey barbecue sauce.”

I didn’t know until then that you also can hear eyes roll.

I sighed. Any husband who wishes to stay married — and I do — knows that a big key to a loving relationship is compromise. That’s a fancy word that means you set aside your better judgment and go along with her weird ideas.

It was time to compromise.

“Look,” I said. “If sweet, goopy stuff bothers you that much, the next time we have baked potatoes, I’ll show you how my dad taught me to eat them.”

“With salt, pepper and sour cream?”

“No, no, no. The healthy way.”

“Oh?” She was interested.

“Yep,” I said. “You split open the potato, pour a little bit of milk over it, slap a big glob of mustard on it, then mash it altogether until your potato is bright yellow. It gives taters quite a kick.”

“I’m going to be ill.” The phone beeped and she was gone.

I understand. Potatoes dripping in barbecue sauce taste better.

Send your potato fixin’ recipes to Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.

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