Funny story, a baked potato sparked my newest identity crisis. More surprising than the revelation itself was discovering a potato can trigger self-awareness. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, come on, do I look like Mrs. Potato Hea — never mind.
It is autumn and it’s pretty brisk outside, so I’m miserable and crave something hot when dinnertime rolls around. ‘Hot’ meaning temperature, not spicy. Sadly, that leaves me with precious few choices since I can’t cook — almost all of them involve the microwave. But on this one notable evening I decided to forego the microwave and use the oven for a change, a true rarity. So rare I’d forgotten the particulars of baking a potato, specifics such as at what temperature and for how long.
I was forced to google ‘baked potato in oven.’ To my delight, a Food Network link popped up and provided the necessary information, along with an interesting tip; coat the potato with canola oil prior to baking. Well, shoot, I’d no canola oil in the house (see above confession regarding cooking skills), so the plain old way would have to do.
Then, as instructed by Alton Brown, I preheated the oven to 350º, washed the potato, poked holes in the skin with a standard fork (8 to 12 deep ones), and placed the potato directly on the rack in the center of the oven. And then I waited (1 hour or until the skin felt soft).
As I waited, I ruminated on the nature of memory. Why couldn’t I remember the details of potato baking? Was dementia creeping up on me? Senility? Age? Are brain cells losing their ability to retain information? Maybe, but I’d rather blame technology. I don’t have to remember anything these days, not phone numbers or addresses or directions, nothing. My phone does all the work now. It keeps me in the loop with various alarms and alerts, vibrations and whistling.
My phone, I realized, does what I used to do. It seeks answers and connections and a clear, straight path to desired destinations. The difference is, my phone is capable of accomplishing those things, things I’ve also spent a lifetime pursuing. But I’m still woefully short of anything I’d call success. Hot mess seems to be my fate, but a hot anything at this time of year is welcome with open arms. Please, step right this way …
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