Last night we decided to host an impromptu dinner party with friends. We figured mashed potatoes would go far as a menu item for the large group, so we sat our 14yo daughter down with a bag of potatoes and a peeler to start the dish.
After she spent three full minutes on one tiny potato, and with little time left before our friends arrived, I decided to take over the job.
Peeling potatoes has to be one of my least favorite dinner-prep duties. It’s messy and jerky and often feels like an endless task. But last night those potatoes taught me something interesting.
This particular bag of potatoes had been sitting in our pantry for some time. Each potato had grown an eye or two (or five), and many smelled very “earthy” with large soft, browning spots. But as I peeled the skin away, off flew all the imperfections of each potato. I remarked to my husband “Potatoes go bad from the outside, don’t they? As long as you can peel the bad stuff away, they’re still good down deep.” My husband answered, “Yep. That’s why I like potatoes so much.”
It made me think of people – how more often than not, we’re shaped and affected by the external, we change from the outside in. Sometimes we pick up bad habits, give in to our weaknesses, don’t try as hard as we should. Ultimately, we begin to think that we are what we do, or what can be seen from the outside. But I believe we are still each who we are at heart, deep down. And if there are external traits we need to shed to be happier and healthier, then we can do that. But who we are at the center of us is never truly lost.
I finished the bag up in no time, and the side dish was a hit. I appreciate potatoes in a different way now, though I think it’s time I teach my kids how to properly peel them.