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The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship Excerpt from The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

"Smashing" Smashed Potatoes

MARCH 19, 1966

Dear Val,

My mother and father just had another fight.

We were at the dinner table. He was showing us the galleys of his new book. He looked up and noticed she was wearing a bracelet. He asked where she got it. You could see from the look on his face that he was already hurt. She shrugged and told him it was a gift from the "smashing new choreographer" of her show. No other explanation. As if that was enough. But it wasn't. He got really mad. He said with all her experience, it was probably her teaching him the moves.

I didn't like hearing that. I don't want to know about their business. But it's really hard not to listen when it's right in front of you.

They started screaming. It was like I didn't exist. She threw his book on the floor. He threw the bowl of potatoes against the wall. Splat! Potatoes everywhere. I yelled for my parents to stop and that's when they realized I was still there. I ran into my room and slammed the door. I wanted to cry but the truth is there's no point crying about something that's never going to change.

An hour later my parents came into my room. They apologized. For two seconds I thought everything was better. But then my mom said she had a great idea. From now on I should call them both by their first names: Katherine instead of Mom, Isaac instead of Dad. My father turned purple in the face. He said that's just wrong. He says children should respect their parents and not talk to them like they're friends. It started all over again. They argued through the night.

This morning my father said if I call him Isaac he won't talk to me. So he's Dad and she's Katherine.

You can call me by my new name: Sad. But at least something came out of this mess -- a recipe for "smashing" smashed potatoes. But use a potato masher, not a wall.

-- Daughter of Katherine

"Smashing" Smashed Potatoes

2 teaspoons salt, plus additional, if necessary
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup sour cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup finely chopped chives
Black pepper, to taste

Fill a medium pot with water; add 1 teaspoon salt and the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Using a potato masher or fork, break up the potatoes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoons salt, sour cream, butter, chives, and pepper, and mash to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel, author of The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

Author Bios for The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship
Andrea Israel is a producer/writer for ABC's Focus Earth. She was a producer/writer on Anderson Cooper 360, Dateline, and Good Morning America (which garnered her an Emmy Award). Her story In Donald's Eyes was recently optioned for a film. Ms. Israel is the author of Taking Tea. Her writing has appeared in many publications.

Nancy Garfinkel is co-author of The Wine Lover's Guide to the Wine Country: The Best of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino (Chronicle Books, 2005). A creative strategist, design consultant, writer, and editor for magazine, corporate, and non-profit clients, she has won a host of graphic arts and editorial merit awards. She has written extensively about food and graphic arts.

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