Being a Grown-Up is So EASY!!

Being a grown up is so EASY!  Hahahahaha!  #funny @sothenstories

So then…my sister Dawn shows me around her tiny college apartment and I’m so excited!

I’m still in high school, so it’s a really big deal that my parents let me come visit her for the weekend.  I feel so grown-up!

We come from a big family, so usually there are 7 people crammed into our house, doing homework, eating dinner, doing chores – all with Mom and Dad confidently leading the team.

But now here we are, on our own!

I’d been a bit apprehensive about moving out and going to college, but look how well my sister’s doing!  Living on your own is easy!

Dawn announces she’s going to make us hamburgers, which I think is somewhat ironic since she was rejected by McDonald’s for a summer job grilling burgers.

(During the interview, the male manager had asked her, “Can you type?”

This did not sit well with my sister.  She was there to flip burgers and fry fries, so what did typing have to do with anything?  She figured it was just a sexist question female applicants had to answer, so she retorted, “No. Can you?

Turns out, he could not — and furthermore, did not appreciate her feminist vibe and declined to hire that feisty little wench. Ha!)

As my sister starts prepping the burgers, I ask if I can help.

She says, “Sure, you can make the mashed potatoes.”

Excellent!  I LOVE mashed potatoes!  I am quite skilled at both making them and eating them.

In fact, we have potatoes almost every night at home and I’m usually in charge of them.  I don’t wanna brag, but I’m rather adept at peeling them, boiling them in salted water, then mixing them with butter and milk, for delicious, creamy mashed potatoes!

My mouth is practically watering!

I move to the kitchen and say, “Great!  I’ll start peeling right now.  Where are the potatoes?”

She heats up the burger pan, nods her head to the right, and says, “In the box over there.”

The box?

Why are potatoes in a box?

Oh, I see.  This is a box of powdered potatoes.

Oh mah gah.  I practically gag.

I’m no Cordon Bleu world-renowned chef – but I am a connoisseur of potatoes.

And these are not potatoes by any stretch of the imagination.

My parents have to be pretty frugal to keep 5 kids fed, clothed, and educated — but we nevah resort to powdered potatoes.

Now please don’t think I’m a spoiled teen.  I’m really not.  But damnnnnn, don’t get between me and mah spuds!

Naturally, I don’t want to appear ungrateful to  my sister, so I don’t mention my horror.  I just read the back of the box to see how to “approximate” a real potato dish with this box of powdery flakes.

The instructions say, “Add 2 cups milk.”

I open the fridge but I can’t find it, so I ask, “Where’s the milk?”

My sister nods her head to the left and says, “In the box over there.”



I’m supposed to make POWDERED potatoes with POWDERED milk?

So basically I’m just mixing water with a bunch of powder?

And we’re going to EAT that?

And yes, I know our soldiers often eat this type of food – and many impoverished people would be happy to have some powdered ANYTHING!

But I’ll admit that at this moment in time, my little 16-year-old brain can only think about the big luscious genuine potatoes slathered in melting butter back home in my Louisiana house with my big boisterous family.

And I get a little homesick.

And I decide I’m never gonna leave my family home to go to college or live on my own because…damn, being a grown-up is hard.  Clearly my sister’s tuition and part-time job has forced her into making this drastic financial decision.

I’m not certain I could make the same sacrifice.

She makes the burgers – which are, candidly, not so terrific – (maybe there IS some typing involved in crafting a tasty burger.)

And I make the powdered-milk-powdered-potatoes — and hey, you know what?  They taste even worse than I imagined.

BUT…we laugh & talk & eat & clean up & laugh some more.  We have an awesome weekend.  And I’m so proud of my sister for her amazing academics, her incredible work ethic, and her wise budgeting that makes her obtaining her college degree possible.

I return home with renewed excitement about finishing high school and striking out on my own just like my sister.

I just make a mental note to work extra hours over the summers to finance my tuition AND genuine potatoes!

P.S. Of course I’ve made PLENTY of budgetary sacrifices since then – I’ve eaten things, worn clothes, slept places that have been less than ideal over the years.  I worked my way through college – even selling my blood when I was especially low on cash.  But I’ve never again eaten powdered potatoes.  Potatoes are my sacred food, y’all!  Put some in my casket – I’m takin’ ‘em with me!

— Darcy Perdu

(Any favorite sacred food you just can’t skimp on?  What were some of your budgetary sacrifices early on?  Ramen noodles, anyone?  Ever work at a fast food joint?  Did you have to type?)

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44 replies on “Being a Grown-Up is So EASY!!

  1. Oh my goodness, I hear you. When my husband and I were both in graduate school we ate so much Kraft macaroni and cheese that when he got his first “real job” I declared I would never eat boxed macaroni again. And I never have!
    Cassandra recently posted..Six Benefits for the Divorced MomMy Profile

    • Ah yes, mac ‘n cheese is an excellent low-cost staple for hungry students! Happy to give that one up, once I got a little cash-ola in my pocket!

  2. Lizzy said:

    My Grandmother lived about 45 minutes away from my college, so I spent close to one day a week down at her house (being fed and doing my laundry). I walked everywhere around town to save for gas for that weekly trip.
    Often she would find “a great deal” so I would come back to school loaded up on potatoes, hamburger (had their own cattle), and green beans (bottled from their own garden) with occasional onions, squash and cheese thrown in. By the end of my freshman year I figured I could write a cookbook entitled “101 ways to prepare potatoes, hamburger and green beans”.

    But dang when she moved farther away. It was sad. Good thing I worked the overnight shift at a hotel so could eat from the continental breakfast. Because I found out exactly how far a box of saltines stretches. (And the icky generic ones to boot.)

    • Wow! I wish I went to college near a cattle-ownin’ Grandma! :) That’s awesome that she loaded you up with food to take back to school.
      Too bad she moved away though — generic saltine crackers don’t sound QUITE as tasty as what Grandma was providin’!

  3. I used to exist off instant mashed potato. It wasn’t until I met Ant and he taught me to cook & also taste things that I lost my enthusiasm for eating milky potato flavoured glue!

    • HA! Yes, that’s EXACTLY it — the powdered potatoes I made that night had the same consistency as glue!

      • I once tried to mix it with cheese. Let’s just say that somebody thought I’d been ill into the pan that day…

  4. Nichole said:

    Hate to say it but growing up, I only got real mashed potatoes when it was a holiday. I actually remember coming in one night from work, smelling something good and asking my step-mom where the box was. She said she made it from scratch and at 16 I did not know what that meant.
    As a single mom of two, working full time and going to school full time, we do box dinners once every other month, at their request of tuna helper, and I do not own boxed taters. And I will NEVER use dry milk unless a recipe calls for it.

    • Ha! That’s so funny you didn’t know what making it from scratch was!
      I had a similar epiphany when I found out vegetables could be purchased outside of CANS!
      I’m sure my parents served us real veggies at some point in our childhood, but basically we ate canned corn, canned peas, canned green beans, canned everything! I remember holding up a big stalk of broccoli in a grocery store, looking at it all confused, like “What IS this?” Ha!

  5. I think the only time I’ve had powdered potatoes was on a camping excursion. Not particularly palatable.
    William Kendall recently posted..Frosted GlassMy Profile

    • Nope — not at all! If I’m camping, I’m eating chocolate graham cracker marshmallow S’MORES — no powdered potatoes, thankyouverymuch!

  6. You are so funny. And no one messes with my potatoes either. My mom used to try to pass those boxed things off on us every now and then. But to her dismay, they never made it past my nose and then I’d rat her out to the rest of the family.

    • Ha! That is one discerning nose ya got there, Millie Noe! You could get a job as food-detector for a King or a Shah in case anyone tried to mess with their spuds!

    • I was a little powder puff pudgy potato girl too! Ha! I’ve never tried tartar sauce, but that sounds pretty delightful!

    • Right? That’s how much I love my sister!
      I ate that gluey powdery flaky potato-ish mixture, with a SMILE on my face (tears in my heart) – but a gott-damn SMILE ON MY FACE!

  7. Trixie said:

    When my husband and I got married he told me, “Please don’t ever make hamburger helper for dinner. I ate so much of it in college that I can’t stand it now.” I looked at him in shock and exclaimed, “You could afford hamburger!?!? What a Richie Rich! I lived on top ramen and popcorn!”

    • Exactly! He could afford PROTEIN? What the hell? Ha!

  8. Julie said:

    See? 3 simple words. Commute to college. I ate fine all through college. :)

    • Brilliant strategy! Ha! Lucky girl! Home-cooked meals AND help with laundry! Score!

  9. Powdered potatoes are not that bad if made right but they are not as nice as freshly made mashed, just saying…… mum use to make it at times and if it was smothered in gravy it was ok
    Jo-Anne recently posted..Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • Ohh! THAT’S the trick! Gravy! I should have smothered it in gracy.
      But now that I think of it, I worry if I asked her for gravy, she’d say, “It’s in that box over there!” Ha!

    • Thanks, Stacey! And yep – you DO gotta do what you gotta do — one time I had to eat cereal with water. WA-TER. Ugh! But that was the only food and beverage in my apartment that morning! Yikes!

  10. AinOakPark said:

    Oh, Darcy, potatoes! So dear to my heart!

    Once I was reading a recipe aloud and it called for “left over mashed potatoes” and one of my daughters said, “Left over mashed potatoes?” and her friend said, “Um, yes, like after you eat dinner and there are some left…” My daughter’s response was too funny, “Well, sometimes they make it into the refrigerator, but after Mom does the dishes, she sits down and eats the rest of the potatoes, so we never have any left over.” (How’d she know that?)

    I do make good potatoes, though, with butter and sour cream and chicken broth and milk and garlic and horse radish (plus salt and pepper). A creamy bit of heaven. (You need all those “ands” in that sentence since commas just won’t do there!)

    My sister used to make boxed mashed potatoes all the time because her mother-in-law liked “whipped” potatoes and my sister could never get them smooth enough to pleas the b, uh, woman. Her mother-in-law RAVED about the potatoes once she started doing that. I would just pass (on) the potatoes when she was at dinner.

    On the being a grown-up is so easy front – I thought that it would be cool to be a grown-up because then you could “do whatever you want.” What a cruel joke that was.

    • Wow — your mashed potatoes sound AMAZZZZZING — and no WONDER there are no left-overs!
      I’d never think of combining all those ingredients, but that sounds mad delicious!

    • Many of my college pals are the ramen noodles, but if I had extra cash, I’d pop for the roll of pre-made refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough! No oven of course — we’d just slice it off and eat it raw. That powered many a late-night study session! Ha!

    • I take shortcuts when I’m alone at home too — but not shortcuts on my taters! :)

  11. Judy P said:

    I grew up on boxed mashed potatoes and still love them to this day (they come in pouches now). I’ve only had real mashed potatoes a few times in my life and they were always freakishly lumpy and bland. I’m seeing that these people were not related to any of the ones who commented here who know how to make them! I used to have powdered milk on hand for recipes that required milk since I can’t drink milk I didn’t buy it… then I realized I worked at a school and could buy the little square milk containers they sell at a school and no more powdered ick milk for me!

    • That’s wild that the real mashed tasted too lumpy and bland to you. Perhaps you’re right and you needed some more inventive chefs!
      Judging from some of the ingredients mentioned in the comments on this post, I think we should have a MASH-OFF and invite everyone over to make their mashed potatoes for taste testing! And you should be a judge!

  12. Josh D said:

    I’m 26 and still a student (Post Grad for the win!). I absolutely loathe and abhor cooking and subsist on a diet of weetbix and toast. It’s impossible to put on weight when you’re 5ft 5, weigh less than 50 kg and have an all fiber diet, but at least I’m ‘regular’.

    SIDENOTE: Instant “Deb” potato is the bomb diggity!

    • Josh, I had to Google “weetbix” to find out it’s a type of Australian cereal biscuit, which I must confess does not look appetizing at all.
      Then I had to Google “50 kg” to see how many pounds you weigh — which is apparently 110 pounds.
      I would LOVE to weigh only 110 pounds! So I shall start eating “weetbix” immediately! I’m flying to Australia RIGHT NOW to pick up a case!

  13. Potatoes are my sacred food too. When my oldest son was a little guy, he hated french fries. I know. What the??? I wondered if I’d gotten somebody else’s baby at the hospital, but then I just coped by finishing his uneaten fries. I’m a midwestern gal. I’ve got potatoes in my blood. Wait…what?

    • So courageous of you, Linda, to sacrifice yourself for the sake of your child, throwing yourself upon those uneaten fries to save the honor of the family name. You go, girl! :)

  14. marjie said:

    Love the story, but I also love boxed potatoes. WHAT?? I know, in fact all my siblings prefers boxed over real, too. crazy huh? I think it has to do with the fact that my mother was NOT a cordon bleu chef nor a connoisseur of potatoes and we all gagged down her lumpy, gross mashed potatoes for years. All hail the inventors of boxed potatoes! (Also, she could not make burgers either.)

    • Aw, poor mom! Although, my kids will probably be telling similar tales about me when they get older. I’m not much of a cook — but I’
      m a damn good baker — AND a fabulous mashed-potato-maker! Ha! But it sounds like your sibs and you enjoy the box potatoes — that’s kind of like my sibs and I liking the canned cranberry sauce that comes out in the shape of the can! The first time I was a guest at someone else’s house and tasted “fresh homemade cranberry sauce,” I thought, “What fresh hell is this? WHERE IS MY CANNED CRANBERRY SAUCE?” Ha!

  15. jenny_o said:

    I’m almost afraid to comment on instant mashed potatoes with so many pure potato lovers here … but I truly love instant mashed. When I was a kid and my mom would occasionally get us TV dinners, the potatoes were the best part. I never knew how they got them to taste so good until I encountered boxed instant mashed – it was an “aha!” moment for me. MMMMM … hee hee!

    • Oh, I remember TV dinners too! The mashed potatoes and little apple cobbler-type dessert were the best! My Mom would also serve us Swanson’s frozen Chicken Pot Pies! Delicious!