I accidentally found a kindred spirit. See, I was drafting a post about nursery supper (never mind, it will make sense later) and surfing doing a bit of online research about this and that...and I stumbled on a blog called Munchkin Mail. Normally I do not click on blogs with names like "Munchkin Mail" but in the Google search results this blog had the magic word combos, "nursery supper," "meal from childhood," "Children's books," and "baked potatoes."
Hello, what's this?!
I clicked and found an amazing post indeed titled "Nursery Supper" about the author coming home from a trip, needing to make something "comfortingly simple." She decided on a dish known in her house as "Milly Molly Mandy potatoes" because they are based on a meal from a children's book of the same name. They are nothing more than twice-baked potatoes, but the provenance of the potatoes coming from the story just made my heart sing. It embodied everything I strive for in an eats-reads connection, and it was exactly the kind of Nursery Supper example I was looking for. Not only did I make the potatoes tonight, but put the book on hold at the library because I simply have to read it now.
Lid potatoes, Milly-Molly-Mandy Potatoes...whatever you call them, they are super easy and super fun. You bake your potatoes according to your method (I scrubbed mine, poked holes, threw them in a 400 oven for 45 minutes). Then you cut a small slice off one short end so that it will stand up on the plate. Cut a larger slice off the other end, this is the lid. Hold the potato in an oven-mitted hand, then, with a spoon, carefully scoop out the insides into a bowl. Careful not to carve in too deep or you'll poke out the other side (which is not a tragedy). Mash up the potatoes with butter, salt, pepper and cheese of your liking—grated parmesan, shredded cheddar or jack—and then spoon it back into the shells. Put lid on top. Serve with a spoon.
Kids go crazy for this. I mean, it's mashed potatoes, duh, but the added novelty of scooping it out of the potato standing on its end? Too much. If your ego needs stroking, I suggest making these because you will rock.
I also made steamed green beans and sauteed Italian sausage with peppers, onions, zucchini and grape tomatoes.