All of our parents have stories about their childhood woes.  It is the infamous I had to walk 5 miles uphill both way tales that were developed to keep kids from complaining about their lives.

I’m so curious how parents are going to handle this conversation with their homebound pandemic kids.  It’ll be hard to compete with “I had to stop going to school and was locked in the house for months!” 

My generation really will not have a worthy comeback except for the fact that we sure did not have as many great entertainment options as kids have today.  Today’s youth at least can do schoolwork, email, watch videos and have virtual playdates.  

WE had none of that plus the games we DID have were DANGEROUS.

We are the generation of lawn darts, no protective wear for sports and small pieces that you could SWALLOW! I’m not kidding…I think I ingested all the houses from our Monopoly set at least twice!  (My sisters are laughing right now because they know this was my defense when I was losing.)

Plus, we had games where we tossed burning hot objects at each other. I’m not kidding.  A regular party game for us was a game called hot potato. Your mom would put a potato in the oven, she’d make it piping hot and then tell you and sisters to toss it at each other while ABBA was blaring in the background.  The music stops and you have the potato….you are out.  You drop the potato…you are out.  You start crying because your sister whips the potato at you like it is grenade and you are from the enemy camp…you are out.  It was horrendous.

I’m sure in the 1800’s when this game was invented, it was a gentle sit around the fire game. By  the 1970’s, folks turned into one of the deadliest games known to mankind.  (Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration but the game really traumatized me.)

Every now and then, I’d go to a friend’s house to play.  Maybe their mom didn’t know any better but she’d overbake the potato so by the third or fourth toss…the sucker would bust open.  Hot potato EVERYWHERE! Next thing you know, the playdate is over and everyone is being sent home.  Some of us are burnt by potato, other’s have potato remnants in their eyes and others have the family dog trying to eat the potato off their faces  It was like every kid for themselves survival mode.

What comes to my mind now…as an adult…who never has to face the horror of being a hot potato victim…is how do people get over their potato phobia (also known as potnonomicaphobia)?

I thought for years I didn’t like baked potatoes because I was a picky eater.  It turns out it was just PTSD!!!  

It took me years of camouflaging the potato with toppings like cheese, bacon, pulled pork, chives and sour cream to get over my potnonomicaphobia.

So, with people having to be a little more creative right now, today’s recipe is easy….a baked potato. I’m posting a recipe because it is one of the easiest things to make and yet also one of the easiest dishes to screw up. 

The best part is you too can load them up differently every time you eat one and your kid is “bored”. (But when I was a kid I was lucky if it was butter or sour cream…and I had to go dig one up…in a community farm…. on the other side of town…in the snow.)

Baked Potato


4 russet potatoes

olive oil

sprinkle of salt

Optional: any topping you want…think cheese, meats, herbs, even those crunchy onions you left from Thanksgiving are good


Preheat oven to 400

Wash your spuds with water

Dry them off

Rub with olive oil and give them a sprinkle of salt

Using a fork, poke a bunch of holes in your potato.

Place on a baking sheet and place in an oven for 45 minutes. (I sometimes just toss them directly on the rack.)

When they come out, give them a little squish.  It should have a little crackle to the skin and not too resistant to force.  Give it a whiff…it should smell roasted and not like the earth.

I personally would rather have an overcooked potato than undercooked.

Before I open my potato, I drop it on the counter a few times to fluff up the inside and then I use a fork and open it like I would a fork split English muffin.

When topping, cheese ALWAYS goes first….so it gets melty.  After that, do as you will…except don’t toss it at anyone!