Mashed potatoes, gravy, and the power of of suggestion

If you’ve ever had to feed kids, you know a story just like this one.

For Sunday dinner I made the boys roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. I went to the extra trouble to make the gravy from scratch because store-bought gravy is always likely to turn at least one of them against me.

History said I should have an easy time selling this meal. There aren’t many meals that somebody won’t complain about, but this one should have been in that small set they all could live with.

Except History can be turned upside down by a seemingly innocuous event.

While I was mashing the potatoes, I added some cheese, like I do every time. Big Brother happened through the kitchen and saw this. The sight left him aghast. Apparently, he has never seen me mashing potatoes before.

“Ewww! You’re putting cheese in the potatoes! That’s gross!”

I explained that all the mashed potatoes he’s ever eaten had cheese in them. I was not convincing. These potatoes were tainted. Little did I know, it was not only the potatoes.

Buster had overheard the cheese kerfuffle, but not necessarily the specifics of it. After the first taste of his gravy, he grimaced. “This gravy tastes like it has cheese in it!”

For the record, I did not, nor do I ever, put cheese in the gravy. Also for the record, these kids love cheese.

I reassured him there was no cheese in his gravy, but my words were futile against the evidence provided by his discriminating tongue and suggestible subconscious.

cheese gravy

Better dump a lot of gravy on to drown out the cheese in those potatoes – unless the gravy is made from cheese. (Photo: Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration)

Dinner proved to be a struggle, with only Big Man willingly eating his food, because he didn’t care if it had cheese as long as it tasted good.

On Monday, I gave us all a break and fed them grilled cheese sandwiches. Nobody complained about the cheese.

We still had leftover roast and potatoes to eat and by Tuesday I was up for another try. As I was warming it, Buster made a skeptical request to taste the gravy so he could go to full Battle Stations by the time I put his food in front of him.

He took a tiny taste and proclaimed. “This tastes like it doesn’t have any more cheese in it.”

Thank goodness for our cheese-absorbing fridge.

Big Brother overheard. “There’s not any cheese in this one?” he asked, meaning the leftover potatoes.

“No,” I replied, not really lying, because the conversation was actually about the gravy.

Nobody complained. Half way through dinner, Big Brother declared: “I would rate this food five stars.”

“What about last time you had it?” I asked, wondering if I should hug him or put him in a head lock.

“Not even one star. Half a star.”

I guess my dinners get better with age. Maybe it takes time for all that nasty cheese to settle out.



27 comments on “Mashed potatoes, gravy, and the power of of suggestion

  1. aviets says:

    Hilarous! And quite a win the second time around. Congrats!

  2. Janet H-C says:

    I’m still laughing, mostly for the sheer entertainment of your story telling, but also thinking about what kind of reaction you’ll get from the dinner I brought over for tonight—roast chicken, green beans, cranberry sauce, AND mashed potatoes and gravy! Please assure the three food critics that there is NO cheese in the mashed potatoes, but I’m sorry to say the gravy is NOT homemade!! I will now recite a prayer…..

  3. Cheese in mashed potatoes? Genius! We used to re-heat leftover mashed potatoes in a frying pan and add cheese, but I never thought of putting it in on the first mash.

  4. AmyRose🌹 says:

    I’m laughing as I write this. Scott, your boys are something else! Leftovers always taste better yet that miracle about the cheese disappearing …. hmmmmm ….. Tell your boys you know a woman who lived in a house when she was little that whatever she didn’t eat on her plate, stayed there and eventually went to bed hungry. Also tell your boys that the meal you served them was good enough for a King to eat! Cheese and all! Oh man I’m still laughing ….

    • The irony is that we need a fridge that produces extra cheese for these boys. It just need to keep the cheese separate from the potatoes and gravy I guess.

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        Yes please for goodness sake do keep that cheese away from potatoes and gravy!

        • janethc says:

          Yes. He’s a great teacher of humor with the perfect non-fromsge seasoning added by his wife…as exampled perfectly by the youngest who said to me while we played Backgammon yesterday on my Kindle, “No, the computer CAN’T win. You’ll win. You have to. We BLOTTED the computer two times!!!!” For those of you who know Backgammon, all I did was mention “blotting” once, and he IMMEDIATELY grasped its significance. But the humor was most significant when the computer did win and he said, “It’s okay. You really won. The computer needs you to play!”

        • The cheese is now in solitary confinement.

  5. Gibber says:

    Oh my goodness that’s hilarious. I’m happy to eat mashed potatoes with cheese anytime you want to make em. Let me know. lol

  6. Your story was hilarious. I write simple, down to earth humor, but I’m going to have to visit more, take down some notes, and maybe have you give me a few writing lessons. Good read.

  7. floatinggold says:

    Now I gotta add cheese to my mashed. Cheddar cheese? Shredded? Or are we talking about Mozzarella or something else?

    An entertaining story for sure.

  8. […] Snoozing on the Sofa The joys of cooking for your offspring… […]

  9. Just Joan says:

    Funny how cheese has the ability to be the hero or the villain, depending on the culinary situation. Be glad your kids aren’t lactose intolerant like my dog… he has to take daily medicine insists on a slice of cheese with it. Then it’s SBDs during TV time, baby! 🙂

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