Mundane tasks do have their benefits. Your mind can wander while performing repetitive tasks....like slicing potatoes or peeling carrots, and suddenly you have an AH-HA moment.
Inspiration stuck at around 5:00 am when I was loading the Thanksgiving turkey into the oven. Why I had to roast the turkey at 5:00 am is another story entirely, and not important. What’s matters is that I also had to slice a boatload of sweet potatoes, and that’s when lightening struck.
Everyone loves the crunchy top of a potato casserole, and the browny bits stuck to the sides. What if I could expose every slice of potato to dry heat? Wouldn’t it create crunch on every slice, and not just on top? Could I have invented the next best thing since popcorn??
The first experiment was done on my unknowing family at Thanksgiving. Not one to abandon inspiration, I thought I’d try again with white potatoes, while adding a little refinement to the process.
Turns out, no, I have not made culinary history. While it’s a good idea to turn the potato slices on their sides and expose them to heat, and you do get crunch, the bottom unexposed side of the potato remains soggy.
Maybe the problem is the visual expectation of crunch leads to disappointment when you hit the soft part of the slice? Like seeing a breathtakingly gorgeous guy, and when his sister walks into the room she resembles a troll’s older aunt. It’s such a jolt to the senses.
Maybe the slices need to be rotated while roasting so you have moderate crunch all around? Or maybe the potato gratin casserole is structured the way it is for a reason.
Who knows? What I do know is that we shouldn’t disparage the mundane kitchen tasks; they give us some well needed space in our lives to dream and imagine.
This post is dedicated to a dear friend who always called herself the “Mistress of the Mundane”. Finally I’m starting to realize the value of the mundane. Thank you, Chris!