There aren’t many cultures who haven’t, at one time or another, relied upon potatoes as a staple in their diet due to their availability, adaptability, taste, and tendency to be very filling. Southerners, of course, are no different. I remember my great grandmother, Lela, telling about how she used to be picking cotton in the fields with her kids (when you were a sharecropper, the entire family had to work the fields) and they would walk back to the house at lunchtime and dig up some potatoes to go in and fry for their lunch. Its hard to hear things like that and not look at this bowl of potatoes as a connection to your ancestors, you know?
~Sigh~ I miss Lela.
Alright, moving on to the food part…
Now y’all know that when a Southerner gets a hold of a something, there’s generally gonna be some frying involved if we can help it. There is a great misconception about frying in the south though. Folks seem to think Southern Food = deep frying. That’s not the case at all. In face, much of our “frying” doesn’t even include oil. How can it be frying then? Well, its just a matter of what we call “frying” differing from what those outside of the south define frying as.
You see, to us, a skillet has always been called a “frying pan”. Therefore, when a person in the south tells you to fry something, sometimes they are just telling you what type of pan to use. A great many of our dishes such as “fried corn” have nothing to do with oil, but are just cooked in a skillet! I actually seldom use oil in my cooking, I am much more likely to use it in my baked goods, instead.
Fried potatoes are not so very different. You are really just barely coating the bottom of your pan with oil as potatoes do have a tendency to stick. Myself and absolutely everyone I know loves fried potatoes. There is no meal they can’t pop up at, either. They are just as likely to be served at breakfast in the south as they are lunch or dinner. Despite what you may think, they do NOT taste like a baked potato or even mashed potatoes. Fried potatoes are a treat unto themselves. This is the potato flavor at its finest, better than any other, honest!
Still, they do tend to be a regional thing. You’ve either heard of them and love them or are entirely confused by the very concept. Once, when Granny Jordan was visiting us (who was the epitome of everything a Southern Lady should be), we had prepared a large breakfast at my mother’s house.
Mama put a big old bowl of fried potatoes on the table and Granny Jordan leaned in and asked in her deep drawl “Well now, those look interesting! What are they?” Mama and I hid our surprise as Mama responded that they were just fried potatoes. To which Granny Jordan replied “Well now, isn’t that neat. I bet those sure will be good!”.
Born and raised in Atlanta and had never had fried potatoes?
Lets get some on y’alls table as soon as we can, alright?
- Vegetable Oil
- Peel and dice potatoes into small cubes. Coat bottom of large skillet with oil, turn on medium heat and allow oil to get hot. Add potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for about ten minutes, until potatoes start to brown on the bottom. Remove lid and stir, continuing to cook until potatoes are all tender and mostly browned.
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Y’all have a wonderful day!