Fork in my luggage Food

Stuffed into a jacket

Baked to perfection Jacket potatoes are the ultimate comfort food

Baked to perfection Jacket potatoes are the ultimate comfort food  

What can be better than digging into freshly baked potatoes generously topped with everything delicious while walking around cold and misty London? Nothing

“Look.” The excitement in my voice had my brothers, husband, son and sister-in-law turning to see what had caught my attention. It was a shop that said, “Jacket potatoes; 21 fillings”. While the others turned away with disgusted expressions, my sister-in-law and I ran for the door.

We’d been walking around a grey and misty London for what seemed like hours. Despite regular pit-stops, I was hungry for something more filling than beer. What can be more filling than a jacket potato?

As we marched in, the man at the counter asked, “Small, medium or large?” Why is life full of such difficult decisions? We had to have a confab about whether we could eat a large each and the fillings thereof; a discussion punctuated with heads popping in through the door and asking,

“Haven’t you guys finished yet?” We looked apologetically at the shopkeeper, whose only contribution to the discussion was a smiling, “Take your time, ladies.”

Finally, the question of size was settled (medium each), and we turned our attention to the fillings. The men in our lives grew more restive as we debated the respective merits of sour cream, mushrooms, varieties of cheeses, beans and a lot more. It took a while but we managed to settle that too: mushrooms for me and beans for her.

These difficult decisions made, we watched as the man swung into action. The potatoes were brushed with oil and bunged into the oven. When the ping announced that the spuds were done, he whipped them out, spread them on a clean sheet of paper and first dropped a dollop of butter into the steaming white interiors turning them into molten gold.

Deftly, he carved the potato open and added spoonfuls of hot creamy mushrooms. The other was filled with beans cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. A quick twirl with brown paper and two packets were held out.

We took them with due reverence and put our faces close to inhale the tantalising aromas that came from within. Having smiled our thanks and paid up, we plunged our spoons into the potato. The mixture of mushroom, cheese, cream and fluffy potato was to die for.

I tore off strips of the crisp skin, slathered them in creamy sauce and devoured them. My sister-in-law, who looked as if she’d found all the world’s treasures, held her packet out to me. I did the same, as I dipped into hers.

There was a burst of flavour: tart tomatoes, spicy chilli, a hint of garlic… Oh yumm!

All this time, the boys had been watching us a trifle warily. But they couldn’t stay away for too long. Soon there was a faint “can we taste?”

Fighting the impulse to say “get your own”, we held out our packets. Dip, dip, dip went the spoons. Silence.

Then, “let’s go back to the shop and get some more jacket potatoes”.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 8:48:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/stuffed-into-a-jacket/article19924598.ece

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