It’s said you never realize how much you love something till it’s gone. Wednesday evening at 6:45pm as I put on the water to boil for the mashed potatoes I have been dreaming about all day it hits me, I lost my pocket knife while in Apia, I am totally knife-less, and I never realized how much I loved that knife! My dad gave me the handy contraption when I was in 7th grade, going on my first major hiking trip with Outward Bound. At the time I thought it was cool because it had tweezers and a toothpick. Over the years both items were lost but somehow the knife remained tucked away in odd drawers throughout every room I lived in. I never thought to bring it anywhere and it lay dormant for years. In my final packing for the Peace Corps I threw in the Swiss Army knife almost as a joke, thinking, yeah, I might use it on a hike at some point. Little did I know that that tiny knife would be my life savor many a night out in the bush country of Western Samoa.
And so we come to my potatoes. After a moment of panic where I realized the knife was gone, an uplifting thought struck my mind: I had tuna for lunch! What, you ask? How does tuna for lunch relate to anything? Well, as any good Peace Corps in a taro eating nation learns, the best way to peel a taro plant is with any old can (don’t worry about TB, we had plenty of shots for things like that!) And the thought struck me; if I can peel taro with an old tuna can, surely it will be the same for a potato! I dug out the most jagged-edged can I could find from the trash and washed it. Unfortunately some person thinking with a western mentality thought cans would be better with a safety guard, so I had to pry off the smooth sealed edge that had formed as a result of my can opener (another problem that would have been solved if I just had a Swiss army knife – no need for can openers, just open the can with a knife and there you go, you have a jagged-edge!) But I was already in a mess because of that knife, so no use thinking about all the things I could do if I had it. I took out my scissors and created as much of a safety hazard as possible. That being done, the potatoes were ready to peel. I write this blog as they boil away, and any minute I can finish my mashed potatoes, sit down with a coca cola (flavored with raspberry syrup, my new favorite additive to any soda), kick back and watch an episode of The Office until sleep carries me away. I miss my knife. But I love mashed potatoes!