I know that for many people music acts as an incredibly strong memory trigger. You listen to a certain song or a certain album to take you back to a particular moment in your life, or to remind you of someone when they’re not around. For me, food often serves the same purpose. I will not listen to a song on repeat for hours to recapture a lost time, but I will make an apple cake because it’s my grandmother’s recipe, or strawberry jam because it reminds me of going strawberry picking with my family as soon as school was out every year as a child.
According to my mom, my dad was not a very good cook when she met him. He didn’t eat vegetables, and he once grated a lemon for the zest and then threw the zest away because he didn’t know what it was. By the time I was old enough to remember his cooking, though, that had changed. Our meals weren’t fancy, but they were delicious, and my dad especially had a knack for potatoes. Granted, I’ll eat potatoes in any form, and as a child I would eat raw potato slices while my dad was cooking. But I’m still convinced that he cooked them better than anyone.
Skillet potatoes were always a special treat, probably because (like many potato dishes) they’re drenched in oil. Whenever my dad made them, I would steal what was probably the equivalent of at least an entire potato during various stages of the cooking process. They’re still the height of comfort food to me because part of me is still seven and eating salted raw potato slices on the kitchen floor, and there’s nothing I’d like to recapture more.
4 medium to large potatoes
1 bell pepper
1 small to medium onion
2 tbs canola oil, plus extra
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and peel the potatoes and slice into very thin rounds. Slice the pepper lengthwise into strips and the onion into quarter rounds.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. The bottom of the pan should be well coated, so you will need at least 2 tbs of oil, if not more. Add more oil if the potatoes begin sticking during cooking.
- Add the potatoes to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until they begin to brown and soften. If you increase the potatoes in this recipe, it will also increase your cook time.
- Add the pepper, onion, and garlic powder and salt and pepper liberally. Continue to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are completely soft and the peppers and onions begin to soften.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.