Thursday, January 03, 2008

In the valley of the shadow of death

I've committed a sin.

For those readers and other hangers on that don't know me from Eve, all you need to know about me at the moment you're reading this is that I am from Utah. I now live in Nevada but originally I'm from one of the most Utah-iest locations in Utah. The sin I've committed violates almost every aspect of my good Utah upbringing. I'm in league with Satan, so watch me close if you expose me to your children.

I prepared and cooked an inedible pan of funeral potatoes yesterday. My ancestors are ashamed of me.

Funeral potatoes (Satan told me you'd ask) are scalloped or shredded potatoes served in au-gratin sauce. Typically this casserole is prepared by church ladies and is then served at a luncheon held immediately after a funeral. (Along with ham and green Jello salad.) There is some debate to how best to prepare this dish. Do you shred, cube or scallop the potatoes? Cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken? Velveeta or real cheddar...and the most important you throw crushed corn flakes on top or crushed potato chips?

While a person can bring up religion and politics in conversation in Utah, it's bad form to bring up your recipe for funeral potatoes and expect talk to not get heated. Some sweet little old Utah lady will call you a doody head if you insist on using sour cream instead of cream cheese in the sauce, and then she'll split your lip.

Look at my potatoes. Look at my sin.

Don't get the wrong idea here. To date I have made hundreds of perfectly delicious and visually pleasing casserole dishes of funeral potatoes. I'm a good cook and my husband has the tummy that makes my kitchen skills evident. Now, there was this one time, thirteen years ago, that I didn't make a good pan of funeral potatoes and I have not lived it down. I changed my proven recipe with the potatoes above, so I know what I did wrong, but it's a mystery to why that thirteen years gone pan was so horrid. Those potatoes tasted like underpants.

I don't know what yesterday's potatoes tasted like. No one wanted to volunteer their lives to find out.

May the funeral potatoes rest in peace.


  1. Dave the Widower1/03/2008 8:57 AM


    I know I don't often leave comments (feelings of shame and inadequacy are washing over me as I type) but I just want to say that you are the most consistently entertaining blogger I've ever read. Apparently "funeral potatoes" are not solely a Utah phenomena as I have seen and tasted such fare at post-funeral gatherings growing up in California. None of of them were anything to write home about and some of them I wouldn't even try. Why is the idea of "presentation" so lost on some people ? Anyway, thanks for making me laugh yet again. You are damn funny and you ought to be writing comedy for some of the late night talk show hosts out there.

    Dave the Widower

  2. My bowels are loosening just thinking of the taters from 13 years ago, they were BAD. But being the nice people we are, we nibbled at them until you finally said that they did taste like shit. It was one of the best things you ever said!

  3. Becky, THAT'S a trainwreck. Just sayin.

    Wowie. Not sure my dog would eat that, and she will eat tin foil.

    Sorry for your loss!!


  4. Aren't those scalloped potatoes?

  5. What the HELL did you do?

    You would have to leave that in for a long, long time to make that mess ... someone should have been forced to taste it just for science' sake, you know? And it should have been you, being as you were the one who created the experiment in the first place.

    In any case, when we next come to visit for a meal, don't announce in advance that you're making scalloped potatoes, darling.

  6. I'm making scalloped potatoes darling.

    And Dave, I suddenly love you.

  7. That's nothing a little, maybe alot of ketchup can't fix.


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