Remember when you were a kid and another child, perhaps a sibling but at the very least a friend, came up to you with a smile of absolute mischief and said, "Hey you wanna see something gross?" Or perhaps it was smell something gross or taste something gross. Whatever, grossness was involved. But point is, that you always said yes. And then you looked or smelled or tasted whatever gross-osity was presented and everyone, including you, said, "Ewwwwwww!" and everyone giggled. Remember that?
This is a little like that. But, hey, gross happens. And yesterday it happened to me. And I'm gonna share it with you. Feel free to say" Ewww" at all appropriate junctures.
There was a this bag of lovely red skinned potatoes in my pantry. Those are my favourite potatoes to work with. They taste good, they are versatile, they are actually kind of pretty, and best of all, I don't have to peel them. That is not just a matter of laziness, although I will be honest and cop to being lazy. It's because I always manage to peel not just the potato skin but also my own skin in the process. And that's kind of gross on it's own. So anyway, bag of potatoes. Pantry. Got it.
I don't remember what I was planning when I bought them. There is always a plan. But I couldn't remember the specific reason why I bought them. So I was debating what to do. I didn't want to make a potato salad because I had recently done that. Mashed potatoes and roasted taters were also off the list and for the exact same reason. There are so many things that can be made with the humble potato and all of them are yummy, so there are lots of options. Then it occurred to me, Scalloped. I hadn't made scalloped potatoes in so long that I couldn't remember the last time I had done it. I think it was Connecticut. That's two moves ago.
Ok! Scalloped potatoes it is. Because it had been such a long time, I had to look up a recipe. And then a couple of other recipes (there are always lots of different ways to make the same thing) to have it all firmly in mind. I was happy to see that I had all of the ingredients on hand. Yay! Well except one. I no longer owned a mandolin. Not the musical instrument, although that would be pretty cool to own. I'm talking about the kitchen slicer. It looks like this:
I used to have a very nice one. And I used it a lot. But in my purging fervor before we moved here, I got rid of a lot of things that I maybe shouldn't have. This, as it turns out, was one of them. I debated trying to cut all of those potatoes precisely to the same thickness by hand and rejected the idea as foolish. Mostly because potatoes are lumpy, bumpy, tricky things to cut and also because my fingers are easy to cut. So off I went to the store and bought myself a relatively inexpensive mandolin. Yay! New Toy!
I gathered all of my ingredients to prepare this scalloped potato masterpiece. Casserole pan, check. Milk, butter, flour, scallions, salt, peppers, check times six. I had my brand new mandolin, I had my chopping board (for the scallions), knife, measuring cup at hand and had even turned the oven on to preheat (which is the most ridiculous term. I'm not heating it before I heat it. That is impossible. I am however, bringing it to proper temperature) Anyway, apron donned, I snagged the last item. The bag of potatoes.
Now then. I must interrupt my own story here for a moment. I have a particularly sensitive sense of smell. My olfactory system works overtime, all of the time. So if there was a funky smell ANYWHERE in my house, I would know it. There was not. Let me be very clear about that. There Was No Funky Smell. At least not until I picked up that bag of potatoes.
Apparently there was one rotten potato at the bottom of the bag. And while it sat in the pantry the bugger liquified. I mean Rotten Potato Juice. Gag. The instant I picked up the bag, the fragrance was released. It bloomed. The permeating smell of rotten potato filled the air, filled my nose, my lungs, and the entire house. Nasty. Just plain Nasty!
For a moment I was scent- shocked into standing absolutely still. Meanwhile, the rotten potato juice poured out of the bottom of the bag and onto the kitchen counter. Quickly realizing what had happened, I lifted the bag off the counter and it poured down my leg and into my shoe. I carried the bag too the kitchen garbage can, leaking rotten potato juice the entire way. The smell.....I cannot even begin to describe the smell. Use your imaginations. It. Was. Bad.
I immediately took the kitchen garbage bag outside and put it into the big outside lidded can. (thank goodness it was lidded. I wouldn't want to cause an ecological disaster with that smell) and came back in. Yuck. The smell is still there. I washed my leg, my foot and my shoe with soap and water.. I washed the kitchen counter with soap and water. I washed the floor and just for good measure, even though the kitchen garbage can had a nice strong bag in it, I washed that too, also soap and hot water. I could still smell it.
I washed everything again, this time I used a kitchen cleaner (even on me). The smell was still there. Ghastly! I gave it consideration. I would be fine using bleach on the floor and even the garbage can although it is stainless steel and the finish would be forever ruined if I did. But I really didn't want to pour bleach on my beautiful granite countertop or me and it would absolutely ruin my shoe. Bleach had to be a last ditch option. Other thoughts. I prowled through the utility room and found....Ammonia!
I cut it a wee bit with water and scrubbed the dickens out of everything in the kitchen, including my shoe and my person (very clean now). The smell of the ammonia initially about knocked me out. BUT it worked. That';s the only important thing. It worked!! Eventually the ammonia smell dissapated leaving only Clean behind.
Apparently the key to getting rid of a stinky smell is to use a stinkier cleaner! And there is your tip for the day.
Meanwhile, I am itching to use my cute little mandolin so perhaps I will buy another bag of potatoes this weekend. BUT this time I will use it immediately. There will be no further fermenting in my pantry! EVER!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.