I am at a place right now where I am standing still in life.
Everywhere around me, people are rushing for things—new places and careers, new relationships, new life, even—and I am watching them.
I want to go forward, to take a step, join them, but instead I stare at my feet, unmoving and, if I’m honest, afraid.
Most days, I want a blueprint: a very, very specific outline of steps to take, with guarantees and/or backup plans, if possible. So I talk to people who’ve been in similar situations, and they tell me what they did, whether they got their first apartment at 17 or had to work their way through college or stayed at their first job for five years.
But no matter how similar life stories are, they aren’t the same. Following your choices won’t guarantee that I follow your life. Your future can’t be mine.
And I don’t really want it to be. Not when I’m honest. In fact, I don’t really want advice, either. I think I just want someone to listen and nod and say, you know, what’s supposed to happen will happen. Because I believe that.
Meanwhile, I take easy change where I can find it, and, at least for me, that means the kind that happens in the kitchen, routinely, every day.
Like, I take a baby gold potato in my hand, set in on a wooden spoon and make quick slices, then smothering it with olive oil and butter, tossing salt and pepper and sage on top. A full bag of these goes onto a cookie sheet, slid into a hot oven that warms my face and hands when I open and close its door. In an hour: what was cold, raw flesh has become hot, soft and tender, fragrant and flavorful. The skins have wrinkled and darkened, the juices have sunk in deep.
Hasselback potatoes are really something special. Beautiful and intelligent. Requiring a bit of effort for something very impressive. I think they look like little snails, but that doesn’t sound appetizing, so let’s say they look like little fans—waves that are crusty and golden, juicy and crispy.
And the bit of effort that goes into creating them—the slicing and stuffing, which is mindless work—yields great returns when you look at these, but even more when you taste them.
That’s the kind of change I don’t have to think twice about choosing, which is, of course, welcome indeed.
Inspired by Falling Cloudberries
1.5 pounds of baby gold potatoes
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil on top to prevent the potatoes from sticking.
Take potatoes, one by one, and set on a wooden spoon, slicing top to bottom along the length of the body at even intervals. To make the slits larger, you can slice tiny bits of the potato out by slicing at alternating diagonals. (I did this with some and not with others – both worked fine.)
Set the sliced potatoes on the oiled baking sheet, being careful not to break them apart. Drizzle with olive oil. Insert bits of butter between the openings in each potato. Sprinkle sage all over. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over.
Slide baking sheet in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, tossing the potatoes once after 20 minutes in the heat.