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You Say "Potato," I Say "Hell Yes!"

I don’t like the term “treasure trove.” Like you (and I know this about you, not because I know you, but because everyone has these), there are words and phrases I hear that, whether on first listen or over time, irritate me. For me, “treasure trove” is one. I can’t tell you why, though I’d be happy to spend a thousand or more words speculating.

With that in mind (because that’s exactly where it was living this morning, waiting to announce itself as I semi-consciously tried to decipher what day it is as the dog snored like a three-pack-a-day smoker in the corner of our bedroom), I want to tell you what I used to flush out (not “flesh out,” as in to provide additional information or to make something more complete or detailed, but to “flush out,” as in get rid of) this phrase from my now idling, pre-dawn brain.

It was mashed potatoes. (Bear with me.) Seems random, and it is, though if I devoted some time (and again, a thousand or more words) to it, I could find a way to connect the dots between “treasure trove” and “mashed potatoes,” but I’ll relieve us all from that burden and move on.

Besides, typing and re-reading “treasure trove” over the past few minutes has riled the bile in my gut, causing physical discomfort and more than a little anxiety, so I need to put it behind me for now, but trust me, I will fight that battle another day. (ASIDE: “Rile the Bile” might be a good name for a gastroenterologist convention … or a competitive eating festival.)

Back to mashed potatoes. Sunday, Joan and I were running errands (you don’t need additional information; “errands” should suffice), and after grabbing a quick lunch, Joan notified me that she had “left room” for some frozen yogurt. “Sound good,” I said, and off we went.

Fifteen minutes later, we were both “self-serving” yogurt into small cups from a “tapper” in the wall, choosing toppings and sitting down to enjoy our respective selections. Joan had a chocolate-fudge concoction topped with shards of toffee. Not a big yogurt fan, I opted for a berry sorbet with a few out-of-season raspberries scattered across the top.

Joan’s was, by her account, “DEEEEE-licious.” Mine was fine. Fact is, my original plan was to forego any frozen treat at all and simply offer glib, insightful banter for Joan while she enjoyed hers. Taking one for the team, I decided it might be better if I spent the time slowly and quietly spooning sorbet into my mouth vs. rapidly spewing nonsense from it. (I made the right choice.)

As I spooned, trying desperately (for Joan’s sake) not to comment on everything in my line of sight, and working diligently to prevent the onset of a brain freeze that occurs exactly 100% of the time I eat something cold (I believe I have a thin upper palate which results in frequent and crippling pain through my eyes and upper skull), my thoughts traveled elsewhere, specifically, to Saturday night when I made mashed potatoes, the very mashed potatoes I craved at that moment.

“I wish this sorbet was mashed potatoes,” I thought (but did not say aloud) as I mindlessly swirled the mixed-berry ice concoction in my cup. You should know at this point that I’ve always been one to favor savory over sugary, and while I’ve eaten my share of cakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream and the like, it’s easy for me to say no to sweets and opt for something salty or at least less “dessert-y.” That’s why “mashed potatoes” popped into my head at that moment.

“So, Dave,” you ask, “why did mashed potatoes pop into your head this morning?” Good question. While I can’t say for sure (WARNING: speculation approaching!), I think it was triggered by “treasure trove.” Subconsciously, when my brain announced “treasure trove” as I lay in bed, all I could think of was how I could get that phrase out of my head and replace it with something better. That took me back to Sunday, when I wished I could have replaced my sorbet with something better … mashed potatoes.

That’s seems reasonable, right?

And not quite a thousand words later, I did make the connection between “treasure trove” and “mashed potatoes” after all. And I feel OK about that, but not as good as I feel about lunch today, when I’m going to eat the hell out of those leftover potatoes.

And the best part? Those potatoes will not hurt my brain like that mixed-berry sorbet … or “rile the bile” like the phrase “treasure trove.”

© 2021 David R. Haznaw

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