There he is in the back right corner, staring back at me. Frozen in time. A pale, unassuming piece of plastic Tupperware. You see him, yet? He still gives me goosebumps every time I catch a glimpse of him as the freezer empties. I saw him tonight when I went in for the Oreo ice cream and did a double-take. He needed me to spiffy him up a bit with a little crumb-dusting on his rectangular lips.
He is my husband Todd’s legendary horseradish mashed potatoes – made for me the day “I knew” he was the one. You see, before Todd, I didn’t date men for very long. Three months was a good stretch. I was too busy with my career, my ambitions. Todd knew he was rolling the dice with me, having peppered me with intimate questions on our first date like, “What was your longest relationship?” Ouch. How do I spin this one so I don’t look bad? It hurt to tell the truth. He didn’t want to waste his time on me if I wasn’t ready for a long-term commitment. Smart guy.
Turns out, all it took to win my heart was a horseradish. There’s something about watching a man go to the trouble of grating a horseradish from scratch. “Who does this?” I remember thinking. Todd does this. And any man who grates a horseradish to make you mashed potatoes deserves a woman’s attention. Smart gal.
The first time Todd and I found the now stored mashed potatoes was when he moved out of his city condo in Metropolis, the 14th-floor unit where he proposed to me. We just couldn’t throw them away. They’ve moved with us three times since – down Atlanta’s I-75/85 bottleneck connector and back again and again. The first move we had our oldest son Kirkham. The second move, our second son Boone was on the way. By the third move, the potatoes and all of us decided to stay put. We gotta stop moving these poor potatoes!
The horseradish mashed potatoes – now 14 years old – have been upstaged by Todd’s masterful baking. For each of our children’s birthdays, Todd lets them pick the cake’s flavor and design. For Valentina’s third birthday party last Friday, he made her requested vanilla “pony-tail” cupcakes with purple frosting.
He scraped that vanilla bean clean for Valentina like he grated that horseradish for me more than a decade ago, filling each and every one of those cupcakes with love. Yes, you can tell a lot from how a man handles a horseradish.
I must say I’m so glad we didn’t throw the horseradish mashed potatoes away. They continue to remind me of why I chose Todd. And why I’m glad he’s my longest-term relationship. Forever.