Sunday, January 25, 2009
Jennie comes back with her son John.
Grammie's mother Jenny Cafarella Cincotta went back to Italy just a few years after bringing the family here to the US. Anerio, her husband, returned as well. In the fullness of time, she became and elderly woman, widowed and alone on the island. Clearly she would have to return to the US if she was to be near her children. Grammie's brother John went over to Salina. He stayed nearly a year. When he returned, he brought Jenny with him.
Unfortunately, she was and old world matriarch in a new world filled with her children that were not going to take s--- from anyone including MOM!
I guess havoc followed her wherever she went. She lived with her son Jake and his wife Rosina for some time. When Rosina put potatoes on the table the first time, she was horrified. She was not going to eat food that was only fit for feeding the pigs. Certainly there were few potatoes eaten in Salina. Grammie would not eat cows milk either as it was totally unfamiliar where goats reigned supreme.
In any event their lives together were eventful...some of the stories I have heard! I will have to wait till all the current crop of relatives are dead to tell the stories so no one will be offended. I will have to outlive you all!
I grew up in Aroostook County in Maine. Potatoes were big there, and when food was scarce, Mom and Dad could always go across the road and dig some potatoes. Idaho was not in the picture in Maine at the time. There were also tons of potatoes left in the field after the harvest. The pickers and machinery could not get all of the tubers. When McDonald's opened it's first few restaurants in Maine, there was an enormous row when it was discovered they used Idaho potatoes.
Also, one of the things you have plenty of on a little farm was butter from your cow. It was Elsie in this case.
So, to honor all these factors, I will offer this tribute that is my favorite use of the tuber.
This is soooo simple to do, and even easier with the update I have given it for the modern kitchen.
Wash eight small rather round potatoes. Yukon Gold would be wonderful, but anything of a moderate size and flattened sphere shaped would be fine.
Poke a hole through each potato with a skewer or a small knife.
Place the potatoes on the turntable of the microwave in a circle. Microwave on High for about five minutes. Turn them over and microwave for a further four minutes.
Place the potatoes directly on the rack of a 400 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes or till the skin is crisp.
Place them in a bowl and cover tightly to steam briefly. Then coat them with butter by tossing them together in the bowl. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, pepper and/or a blend of dried herbs and paprika.
Cover till cool enough to handle.
Preheat a large frying pan(Cast iron is the very best) melt half a stick of butter or whatever is necessary to get a very generous coating on the bottom of the pan. A bit of browning is OK but do not get it too hot. Add a little olive oil to the butter
Cut each potato in half in such a was as to make the largest area of white exposed and immediately press the cut side into the butter. Don't touch it again till you are sure they are ready and just short of burning. Do this with all the potatoes that will fit. Allow them to brown heavily. You may give the potatoes a push to squash them slightly. You can turn them over carefully to brown the other side, but it is certainly not necessary.
Do not use garlic on these except as a very late addition because it will burn and turn bitter. Do not cover while they brown.