Andy Rooney (1919-2011) was a well-known television and newspaper writer. He was best known for his weekly commentaries on 60 Minutes, in which he offered humorous and often-biting observations about everyday life.
One day Rooney received a request from Enid Nemy, a columnist for the New York Times. She was putting together a cookbook of favorite potato recipes of well-known people, and she wondered if Rooney had anything to contribute to the project.
With his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, Rooney sat down and composed the most outlandish potato recipe he could think of: Baked Potato Ice Cream. This is his letter:
Although I hesitate to select one potato recipe as my best, I must say I get a great many favorable comments on my potato ice cream. Don’t serve this to guests who are calorie-conscious.
Take four large Idaho potatoes. Peel them, setting the peels aside. Cut the potatoes longwise into half-inch slices. Discard the rounded top and bottom slices. Place the stack of slices, which now have a flat surface, on the cutting board and slice them again, producing long fingers of potato. Turn these parallel to the edge of the cutting board and slice them once more into small cubes.
In six cups of water, to which you have added a cup and a quarter of sugar, simmer the potato cubes until the water evaporates and one of the cubes adheres to a single chopstick. Place cooked potatoes in a blender with two cups of heavy cream and a dash of paprika for color and blend until well … blended. My mother, who taught me how to make this, used to serve it to us as a treat when we were good.
Pour the potato mixture into a divided ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. If you have a microwave freezer, all the better. When mixture begins to thicken, but before it hardens, insert one toothpick in each and continue freezing. Mixtures should be of such consistency that the toothpick stands upright. When toothpick no longer pulls out easily or turns blue, the potato ice cream cubes are ready. Plan on three cubes per guest and serve with a bowl of rich chocolate sauce for dipping.
After dinner, throw out the potato peels.
Six weeks later, Rooney received a call from Nemy’s editor. Not only had anyone failed to recognize that his “recipe” was merely a joke, but it had actually been selected to be included in the book. The editor was merely calling to find out how many people this recipe would serve.
Rooney was forced to explain that this submission was all in jest. The recipe was withdrawn from the book, and Enid Nemy stopped speaking to Andy Rooney.
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