The Newnan Times-Herald


Mama’s rules amazingly right years later

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jun. 06, 2019 - 10:40 PM

I’ll bet most teenaged girls, at one time or another, thought their mother was a pain in the gluteus maximus.

I did. The things Mama told me, often times, made no sense at all. When she told me the end pieces of a loaf bread were the most healthy, that sounded strange to me. I just knew at the time she wanted me to eat the end piece because no one else would … or she didn’t want it … or she did not want to throw it away … or some other stupid reason.

How could it possibly be healthier for me? I was not eating it…. in fact, I did not even eat that old crust around my peanut butter or tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches.

The other “Totally Stupid” rule was that I had to peel potatoes, cut them up, cover them in water and put them in the refrigerator the night before she cooked them on the following day. I can guarantee you when I asked her why I had to cut them the night before – and I am sure I did – she would have said, “because they have to soak.”

I can also guarantee you that she would have told me they had to be covered in water so they would not turn black. You can be very sure that my “why” questions were often answered with, “because I said so, that’s why,” or “that is how Mama done it.” I was welcome to think to myself that both were stupid reasons… but you can bet you sweet gluteus maximus, I had better sense than to say it aloud. So, I obeyed the Mama rule … until I was grown, then I created my own, new and improved, set of rules.

Rules change as we grow older because of something we call “progress.” Hamburger joints, microwaves and the excessive use of plastics are, sadly, big symbols of progress. 

It always amazes me when I read information released today that proves Mama’s methods and facts from my childhood.

A few moments ago, I found this health fact: Soak potatoes before cooking… Potatoes contain an amino acid called asparagine that, when exposed to high heat, changes into acrylamide, a neurotoxin. Acrylamide binds to the ends of our axons, making it tougher for brain cells to communicate with one another. Water protects asparagine, so soaking potatoes for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking them can stop it from transforming into acrylamide. Drain the potatoes and blot them dry before cooking.

I found this fact last week: In a German study, researchers found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb.

Rest assured that my Mama and her Mama never heard the words amino acid, asparagine, acrylamide or neurotoxin. They would not have known that they had axons or that acrylamide was binding to them.

I have no idea what they are, but I will after I Google it.

They got their rules of cooking from previous generations who had somehow discovered that potatoes were healthier when water-infused. Perhaps, in the even older days, they cooked potatoes fresh from harvest when they would have been moist and as a result were smart enough to soak the older potatoes.

By the way, if you are over 60, go and take a look at the old family pictures of your grandparents and parents when they were children and adults. How many fat people do you see?

Get back with me on that, will you? . . . Why?

Because I said so, that’s why.

Sheila Tolley