Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Meat and potatoes August 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:36 AM
The perfect summer meal: baby potatoes and sweet corn from the Faribault Farmers' Market and a grilled pork chop

Fresh potatoes and sweet corn, from the Faribault Farmers' Market , and a grilled pork chop.

I grew up on meat and potatoes.

Same thing every night for supper—meat, boiled potatoes, gravy and a side vegetable. Seldom a deviation, except maybe on the weekend with macaroni and cheese for dinner. Or a kettle of rice. Or hotdish. And in the summer, T-bone steaks on the grill on Sunday.

Ours was a farm family. Good solid food. Nothing fancy. Something to fill the stomach. Feed six kids with food from the land. Keep the meals simple, and cheap.

Potatoes, always the staple, centered nearly every meal along with corn-fed beef.

Not that spuds grew abundantly in the heavy, black soil of southwestern Minnesota. They didn’t. But one year I decided we should try planting potatoes and they became my project. I thought digging potatoes akin to digging for gold.

Nothing compared to that first potato dug from the soil, dirt clinging to skin. Firm and fleshy. Tasting of the earth.

Even today, so many years later, I anticipate new potatoes, small and round, sliced thin in their red jackets, dotted with butter, sprinkled with seasonings, wrapped tightly in foil and cooked over charcoal.

Served with Minnesota grown corn on the cob and a grilled pork chop, pork kabob, chicken or steak, I consider this the perfect summer supper.

Even without the gravy.

(In celebration of National Farmers Market Week August 2 – 8, shop a farmers’ market. You’ll find an abundance of just-picked produce from zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, onions, raspberries, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet corn and lots more. Home-grown, fresh from the garden. Nothing better.)