Friday, November 23, 2007

The Mechanics of Mashed Potatoes

With fifteen of us crowded around the table yesterday, I obviously didn't hear all the interesting conversations. But I learned of one while talking late into the night with Daughter.
Apparently there is a level of engineering involved in 'building' the perfect Thanksgiving plate. And her brother achieved just such a perfect plate yesterday. Daughter has always been impressed with everything big brother does; that hasn't changed in the 21 years she has been his little sister. But she was totally wowed by his construction expertise yesterday.
You begin with the mashed potatoes, piling the mound smack dab in the middle of the plate, carefully creating the perfect crater for gravy, and then adding the remaining items in a clockwise fashion around the edge of the plate until there is nary a spot of plate showing through. I understand it was truly a marvel of engineering.
But Daughter is a chip off the old block and, following in the footsteps of her father and brother, she showed her resourcefulness when, shortly into the meal, disaster struck. "My moat broke! My moat broke!" she shouted. With nary a thought for her own safety, she dived in and quickly repositioned a large chunk of stuffing that immediately staved off the tidal wave of gravy from washing over the other food items. (Not that this is a bad thing, since everything tastes better with gravy, but it's the principal of the thing.)
Stuffing is a particularly good construction material because it is already glutenous from time spent inside the turkey breast. And it works a lot better than trying to re-position mashed potatoes which is sort of like the man who built his house upon the sand, or the little piggy who built his house with straw. Just not the most stable or sturdy building material.
So now you know how to both build the perfect Thanksgiving plate AND save the day when you moat breaks.
Unless you're like my husband who just goes ahead and pours gravy over everything to begin with.
Whatever floats your boat in the gravy of life.

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