I’m going to tell you a story about baked potatoes. You’re going to love it, I promise. Specifically, I’m going to tell you the story behind why my brother doesn’t eat baked potatoes anymore.

Setting the Stage

My father is sort of the stereotypical sales exec type. Very into work. Very into “making his numbers.” Because my dad is very good at what he does, my family moved around a lot when I was growing up. The place that ended up being “home?” South Korea. (Before you say it, I know. I don’t look Korean. Hurr Hurr.)

Because I am the eldest child, I did silly things like “Go to college and leave my brother home as an only child.” Due to a conflict of school schedules, this whole “going to college” thing meant that my brother and dad would be alone at home for up to 8 weeks.  Cheerfully, they called this halcyon time period “Bachelor-ing It Up.”

Feeding Themselves

The issues didn’t make themselves immediately apparent. In hindsight, they should have. After all, my mother handled all the meal preparation and my dad was known for eating plain noodles with butter and barbeque sauce (side note: ew) if left to his own devices. Still, the weather was warm in Seoul when I first left for college, so grilling seemed like a safe choice for nourishment.

The first day of the Bachelor Experiment, my brother arrived home from school at 3:30 in the afternoon. At 5:30 in the evening, my dad sent him the following text message:

On my way home. Can you throw some potatoes in the oven? Baked potatoes sound good tonight.

Gamely, my brother scrubbed the potatoes and ruthlessly poked them with a fork. (He called the stateside branch of the family to confirm that this was, indeed, the protocol.) At this point, he was tickled to be doing something so useful. My dad got home, threw some meat on the grills and the menfolk feasted.

It All Goes Sour

Here is a transcript of the “leaving work” text messages my brother received while my mother and I were out of the country:

  • Day 2: “Hey buddy. Throw some potatoes in the oven. On my way home.”
  • Day 3: “Leaving work! Can you get some baked potatoes going?”
  • Day 4: “We’re having steak tonight. Do you want to start the potatoes for me?”
  • Day 6: “I’m leaving. Start the potatoes.”
  • Day 10: “How do baked potatoes sound?”
  • Day 14: “I think baked potatoes would go great with the pork tonight. Start them. I’m on my way.”
  • Day 22: “How do baked potatoes sound?”

And so on and so on for forty two days. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My dad and brother ate a baked potato a piece every day for six straight weeks. When my mother returned, my brother told her, point blank, that he would never eat a baked potato ever again.

To my knowledge, he hasn’t.

Really, this whole story was an elaborate excuse to get to show you a picture of the excellent potatoes that I baked last night.

photo (5)