When my sister got married in 1977, the rehearsal dinner was a backyard picnic. The mother of one of the groomsmen brought some great potatoes. (More)

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We talked about those potatoes for weeks they were so tasty. Finally I got the name of the cook and the small town in central Minnesota where she lived. In the age before the internet calling someone with just that information was not as easy as it is today. Complicating things was the fact that her name was Harriet Johnson. Minnesota has a lot of Johnsons. I called information and asked for Harriet’s number. I didn’t know Harriet’s husband’s name. I also had the good fortune to actually speak with a human being who was located in the same town. Bonus! I explained to the operator that I had eaten some wonderful potatoes and needed Harriet’s number to get the recipe.

“Oh that Harriet,” the operator said. “She is famous for those potatoes. She’s been bringing them to potlucks for years.”

I reached Harriet who was shocked that someone would call long distance for a recipe. Long distance was expensive then and an event. She then gave me the recipe which I will share with you. The odd thing about these potatoes is that I have given out this recipe several times over the years. Inevitably I get a phone call back saying somehow their copy of the recipe looks like vague notes and surely they are missing something. I got a call from my oldest son last night wondering if he had all the directions. His next door neighbor wanted to bring them to Thanksgiving.

Harriet’s Potatoes:

Regular baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly. Salt and pepper. Put in a casserole dish so the potatoes are at least an inch and a half from the top of the dish. Fill with heavy cream to cover the potatoes. Bake at 350° for about an hour. Some times I have added a few chopped onions.

That’s it. That’s all the directions she gave me. We are so used to elaborate directions that good old fashioned potatoes are too simple to believe. It requires a phone call to be reassured that that’s all there is.