My good (well, she's "great," actually) friend Ann has a sister who is battling MS. Every year Ann joins in the fight against the disease by captaining a team for the MS Walk (to hear Ann and her sister Maggie's story or to make a donation at any time, go here.) As a "thank you" to her friends and donors, she threw a party this year and called it "Battle Potato," in the style of Iron Chef on the Food Network. In case you're the last person on the planet not to see the show, everyone was to bring a dish with potato as an ingredient. Then the guests vote on their favorite, and the winner jumps on his or her cutting board, and shouts "IN YOUR FACE. FOR MS RESEARCH" at all the other guests, while brandishing a butcher knife. And now (it must be said), "Allez cuisine!"
Ann decorated the place all purty with potato centerpieces.
The guests who cooked were given numbered cards to place by their dishes, for the vote later on.
One gi-normous nerd brought a title card for her dish, and pinned her number to the card with an Idaho potato button that she just happened to have brought. Who's the geek?
My card reads, "Twice-baked ranch potatoes with scratch chicken BBQ." Poor Ann had other guests asking her, "where's my title card?" And she had to keep saying, "Uh, she made that." Well, you know what? You could have made your own, too. Don't hate the player.
There were more dishes than I imagined would be there. Curry salad, egg pie, thai dishes, and au gratin. I began to sweat. And eat. Eat and sweat.
I really, really enjoyed the food. When I saw the potato desserts, I knew it was over. There were chocolate-dipped chips, and cream-cheese frosted potato spice cake. There were DOUGHNUTS. How do you compete with that? Might as well just fill my plate.
Some folks got in a time-crunch, and were still courteous enough to go and get what people really like, and then arrange it artfully on a plate. Thanks Abby! Truthfully, I probably had more of the fries than anything else... So now I was contending with food science. You can't argue with years of testing for aroma and "mouth feel."
Or, have some red wine.
Then, form a totem pole, because it mocks both ancient Native American customs as well as your own ridiculously short stature. Everyone wins!
After eating, we all were to vote once for "Best Tasting," and once for "Most Creative." Ann had potato-shaped ballots to write the numbers on, and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head receptacles to put them in. Aw, shmoosh.
And when the votes were tallied, my friends Anna and Adam won for "Most Creative" for their chocolate-dipped chips, and I won for "Best Tasting." Yay! I think it is POSSIBLE that some people pitied the sad girl who made the title card... Or as Jason ribbed me (who baked the cake at #6), he was pretty sure some of his votes got construed as my #9. Also possible. But Jeff said, "I counted those votes. I know my sixes from my nines." What's an election without controversy?
My prize was a colander, filled with everything needed to make a pasta dinner. Which is crazy, because that's exactly what I gave Ann as a wedding gift about a decade ago, only with a double-boiler instead of the colander. So now, I'm pretty sure I owe her a wedding gift. Still, I'm stoked because I can really use that colander!
I can't wait until this party goes again next year. And if I win again, I'll try to be more careful brandishing that butcher knife. (Sorry honey - but you were already missing most of your hair anyway, right?) Thanks for the party, Ann. It was awesome.
Here's my recipe for the potatoes, only this time, I added Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix to the potato mixture. I also refrigerated the baked potatoes overnight in their foil, and they were a lot easier to scoop out the next day.