Lewis Grizzard Wednesday

They may be quick and convenient – but there’s a big difference between mashed potatoes and those which come in a box. 

Real Mashed Potatoes Don’t Come In Boxes 
For weeks, I had been seeing a television commercial for this certain chain of restaurants. The commercial claimed the restaurant served home cooking, “The kind mom used to do.” 

I’m not going to name the restaurant chain. I’ve already got one libel suit pending. 

But I will say I’ve spent the nearly three decades since I left the cooking mama used to do looking for something, anything, that came close to it. 

I grew up at a fried chicken, pork chops, pot roast and fresh vegetable table, with corn bread or mama’s homemade biscuits on the side. 

I must have this sort of food at least once a week or be struck by the dreaded bland-food poisoning. 

That’s because I have to eat a lot of airline food, as well as hotel food. The airlines and hotels get together each year and plan their menus. Steak au gristle and chicken a la blech. 

So I gave this chain a try. I walked into one of its restaurants and looked over the menu. There was no fried chicken or pork chops. 

But there was country fried steak and pot roast. I decided to go for the pot roast. 

“Can I get mashed potatoes and gravy with the pot roast?” I asked the waitress. 

“Sure,” she answered. 

The pot roast was so-so. The gravy was suspect. One bite of the mashed potatoes, and I knew. I called the waitress back over. 

“I would take it as a personal favor if you would be perfectly honest with me,” I said. “These mashed potatoes came out of a box, didn’t they?” 

The waitress dropped her eyes for a brief second. Then, she looked up and said apologetically, “Yes, they are.” 

I hate mashed potatoes that come out of a box. When God created the mashed potato, I am certain the Bible points out somewhere, he had no intention of anybody goofing around and coming up with mashed potatoes from a box. 

He meant for real potatoes to be used. You peel them, you cut them into little pieces and put them in a pot of boiling water. You put in some salt and pepper, and then you add some butter and maybe even a little sour cream and then you beat them and stir them and you’ve got biblically correct mashed potatoes. 

I realized the waitress didn’t have anything to do with the fact that the restaurant served mashed potatoes from a box in a place that advertised mama’s cooking, an affront to mothers everywhere. That was upper management’s doing. 

So when I paid my bill – reluctantly, due to the fact there should have been a warning on the menu that the mashed potatoes weren’t really mashed potatoes – I did have a word with the assistant manager, who took my money anyway. 

“May the Lord forgive you for ye know not what you do, you potato ruiner.” 

I think he thought I was some sort of religious nut. He was still waiting for me to hand him a pamphlet and ask him for money as I walked out the door. 

Mashed potatoes from a box. That’s what’s wrong with this country. That, and non-alcoholic beer, instant grits, canned biscuits, soybean anything, frozen french fries, fake flowers, staged photo opportunities for politicians running for re-election, tanning salons, and I bought some Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream at the grocery store recently, but when I went to eat it, I realized I had gotten yogurt instead. 

What’s real anymore? Computerized voices talk to me at the airport. I phone a friend and I talk to a machine. Musical stars are lip-syncing. 

Did somebody mention silicone implants? As soon as I make the world safe from boxed mashed potatoes, I’ll get around to that. 

It’s a matter of priorities, you know.



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