Read. Eat. Repeat.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Some books make you want to be a better person, a little more quiet, and a little more kind. The kind of person who knows that size and strength are not the same thing. A Man Called Ove is one such book.

At first encounter, you’d likely consider Ove to be rude, crotchety, and unkind. While he is gruff and a bit brash, Ove is about as far from unkind and inconsiderate as a person can get. The more I read, the more Ove reminded me of my Grandpa.

My Grandpa was a tall, sturdy, quiet man. To look at him, you might find him intimidating. He was burly with work-roughened hands, ruddy jowls, and a heavy brow. He was a Rhode Island Quahogger and, like Ove, thrived on routine. He didn’t like change or disorder and he didn’t suffer fools. But, also like Ove, he was equitable and believed in doing the right thing.

There’s a scene in the book where a teenage hipster boy wants to fix a bicycle to impress a girl and Ove shows him how. It reminded me of the time some neighborhood boys stole my cousin’s bike.

I must have been eight or nine when it happened, though I couldn’t say for sure. My cousins and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, especially in summer. They lived in a neighborhood by the bay with lots of kids and the dynamic was always girls versus boys. We play fought and antagonized one another, but it was never mean-spirited. It wasn’t a “nice” neighborhood, in that it contained a good deal of low-income housing, but the people were good and no one worried if we wandered unsupervised for hours or stayed outside until dark, sometimes after.

On this occasion, I can’t remember what we’d done to provoke it, some of the boys had snuck into my grandparents’ yard while we were all inside having lunch and taken my cousin Megan’s bike. It wasn’t a malicious act. When we went out to play after lunch we saw them openly riding it around, doing wheelies and tricks. I can’t remember if my Grandmother saw or if we told, but she came outside and told the boys that if they didn’t bring the bike back, then she was calling the police. She made us all go back inside and we watched as, minutes later, they snuck the bike back into the yard just as stealthily as they’d taken it.

When my Grandpa came home from the shanty by the bay where he quahogged and made shellfishing equipment, we called it ‘down the shore’, my Grandmother told him what the boys had done and insisted that he go talk to them about it; he did. I don’t know what he said but the next day, just before he came home from work, the neighborhood boys were all hanging around outside the yard. When my Grandpa arrived, it was with a number of used bicycles in various states of disrepair in the back of his truck.

Each boy who didn’t have one was given a bike and shown how to fix it. I remember my Grandmother being upset about this, she felt that the boys were being rewarded for bad behavior but that wasn’t how my Grandpa saw it. He didn’t argue with her. He simply stated that now they had bicycles and wouldn’t have to steal them anymore.
My Grandpa was a great man.

Like Ove, my Grandpa also had pretty simple tastes. He liked simple meals and didn’t believe in wasting food. In the book, Ove’s favorite meal is sausages and boiled potatoes. So, in honor of Ove and my Grandpa, I made sausage and garlic smashed potatoes.

I don’t eat meat for two reasons, one is the way factory-farmed animals are raised, and the other is the way they’re slaughtered. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in New Hampshire it’s not legal for farmers to slaughter their own animals unless the entire animal has been bought and paid for. So, even if an animal is raised well, it’s still has to travel many miles in stressful, inhumane conditions before it suffers the atrocities of a slaughterhouse.

For this reason, I procured the sausages from this cool little butcher shop in Kittery, ME called Maine Meat. Maine Meat is a whole-animal butchery that only sources animals sustainably from local farms. In this way, they’re able to use every part of the animal in addition to giving farmers the right to slaughter their animals onsite if they choose to.

I didn’t eat any of the sausage but I can testify to the garlic smashed potatoes being excellent. As the recipe by Chungah at damndelicious.net suggested they would, they turned out rich, garlicky, crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. So, while they aren’t boiled, I hope that Ove (and my Grandpa) would have approved.


Garlic Smashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • baby potatoes, 24 oz
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • garlic cloves, 3
  • ground thyme, 1 tbsp
  • salt & pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F & grease a baking sheet.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a large pot until tender & drain (~15-20 min).
  3. Flatten the potatoes with a fork & season with oil, garlic, and thyme.
  4. Cook potatoes, evenly spaced out, on a cookie sheet until golden & crisp on the outside (~18-20 min).

Serve & enjoy!

In a Nutshell

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

August 18, 2017
: 6
: Easy Peasy

Rich, garlicky potatoes that are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside & simple to make.

By:

Ingredients
  • baby potatoes, 24 oz
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • garlic cloves, 3
  • ground thyme, 1 tbsp
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 450° F & grease a baking sheet.
  • Step 2 Boil the potatoes in a large pot until tender & drain (~15-20 min).
  • Step 3 Flatten the potatoes with a fork & season with oil, garlic, and thyme.
  • Step 4 Cook potatoes, evenly spaced out, on a cookie sheet until golden & crisp on the outside (~18-20 min).

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