Pick them out as nearly as possible of one size, or some will boil to pieces before the others are done; if necessary, cut them to one size. Remove eyes and specks, and pare as thinly as possible, for the best of the potato lies just under the skin. As fast as pared, throw into cold water, and leave until wanted. Put in furiously boiling salted water, then hang kettle a little higher where it will boil moderately, but do not let it check. Test with a fork or sliver. When the tubers are done (about twenty minutes for new potatoes, thirty to forty minutes for old ones) drain off all the water, dust some salt over the potatoes (it absorbs the surface moisture), and let the pot stand uncovered close to the fire, shaking it gently once or twice, till the surface of each potato is dry and powdery. Never leave potatoes in the water after they are done; they become watery.
After washing thoroughly, and gouging out the eyes, snip off a bit from each end of the potato; this gives a yent to the steam and keeps potatoes from burst* ing open. I prefer to put them in cold water and bring it gradually to a boil, because the skin of the potato contains an acid poison which is thus extracted. The water in which potatoes have been boiled will poison a dog. Of course we don't "eat 'em skin and all," like the people in the nursery rhyme; but there is no use in driving the bitterness into a potato. Boil gently, but continuously, throw in a little salt now and then, drain, and dry before the fire.
Old potatoes are better steamed. A rough-and-ready method is shown on page 60.
Mould some mashed potato into cakes, season, and fry in deep fat. Or add egg and bake them brown.
Nessmuk's description cannot be improved: "Scoop out a basin-like depression under the fore-stick, three or four inches deep, and large enough to hold the tubers when laid side by side; fill it with bright hardwood coals and keep up a strong heat for half an hour or more. Next, clean out the hollow, place the potatoes in it, and cover them with hot sand or ashes, topped with a heap of glowing coals, and keep up all the heat you like. In about forty minutes commence to try them with a sharpened hardwood sliver; when this will pass through them they are done and should be raked out at once. Run the, sliver through them from end to cmd, to let the steam escape, and use immediately, as a roast potato quickly becomes soggy and bitter".
Boiled or steamed potatoes that have been left over may be sliced one-quarter inch thick, and fried.
Peel, and slice into pieces half an inch thick. Drop into cold water until frying-pan is ready. Put enough grease in pan to completely immerse the potatoes, and get it very hot, as directed under Frying. Pour water off potatoes, dry a slice in a clean cloth, drop it into the sizzling fat, and so on, one slice at a time. Drying the slices avoids a splutter in the pan and helps to keep from absorbing grease. If many slices were dropped into the pan together, the heat would be checked and the potatoes would get soggy with grease. When the slices begin to turn a faint brown, salt the potatoes, pour off the grease at once, and brown a little in the dry pan. The outside of each slice will then be crisp and the insides white and deliciously mealy.
Fry one or more sliced onions until they are turning yellowish, then add sliced potatoes, previously boiled or steamed; keep tossing now and then until the potatoes are fried somewhat yellow; salt to taste.
Cut cold boiled potatoes into dice, season with salt, pepper, butter, and stew gently in enough milk to cover them. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Or peel and slice some raw potatoes. Cover with boiling water and boil until tender. Pour off the water. Roll a large piece of butter in flour, heat some milk, beat these together until smooth, season with salt and* pepper, and bring to a boil. Then stew together five minutes. Serve very hot.
Slice two potatoes to one onion. Parboil together about fifteen minutes in salted water. Pour off water, and drain. Meantime be frying some bacon. When it is done, remove it to a hot side dish, turn the vegetables into the pan, and fry them to a light brown. Then fall to, and enjoy a good thing!