Column, Southern Thing Column

Whoever is leaving random bowls of mashed potatoes in Mississippi … call me

This is an excerpt of “Whoever is leaving random bowls of mashed potatoes in Mississippi … call me,” this week’s column on To read the full column now, click here, or click the link at the bottom of the excerpt.

An anonymous benefactor in Mississippi is being labeled as mysterious and odd but I fully support the person who is bestowing the gift of mashed potatoes on random residents in Jackson. Clearly, some people don’t understand the importance of mashed potatoes to one’s health and general well-being. You might think I am being dramatic with that claim but as someone who has suffered from migraines for nearly 40 years, I can assure you that eating warm mashed potatoes goes a long, long way toward relieving my aches. (If you doubt me, look it up on WebMD. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something on it under “tater cures.”)

They also go a long, long way toward making my butt look big, but that’s a column for another day. I have always dreamed of someday owning a potato restaurant, one that serves only varieties of taters, making every day like Easter at my Grandma Caldwell’s, where you might find all kinds – scalloped, baked, mashed, casseroled, fried, hashed, browned, smothered and covered. You name it, Grandmother would make it … and I’d eat it.

There’s a restaurant in Scottsboro, Ala., called 50 Taters that specializes in stuffed potatoes that I have been avoiding. I’m afraid if I went, I would never leave. I’d make a blanket fort under their tables and stay for a week or 20, and Sweetums would be home all alone. I know I have a problem, y’all. This is why I try to avoid potentially perilous potato situations.

My problem began in childhood when I developed a deep and abiding relationship with my great Uncle Doug’s mashed potatoes. It’s a good thing he and Aunt Ruth lived an hour-and-a-half’s drive away or I would have “gone to taters” much sooner than I did. As it was, my dad nicknamed me Tater Butt, once it became clear that I wouldn’t stop even after my jeans’ sizes began running into the double digits. Of course, he meant it affectionately … I think.

At times I couldn’t be quite sure, and I was always careful not to get separated from him at the mall or Walmart because I had a nagging feeling he might just have me paged: “Tater Butt, please come to the Customer Service Desk. Tater Butt?” Click here to read the full column.

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