The Goods.

By Rebecca Eisenberg

Oh, the spread; the glorious potato spread set out on the table. Potatoes; potatoes with cheese; potatoes with real bacon; potatoes with fake bacon; potatoes with yellow cheese; potatoes with white cheese; potatoes with sour cream; potato casserole; potato hummus; potato bread; and, for dessert, potato candy. Potatoes, anyone?

I was quite curious as to how such a perplexingly impressive potato spread was put together. So i headed straight to the horse's mouth -- or, more specifically, Jim and Aimee's mouths -- to find out. Jim was a big star in the famous Cyborganic Rolling Stone article. Aimee was barely mentioned (she's the unnamed recruiter responsible for bringing Jim to the clutches of Cyborganic in the first place). So I encouraged Aimee to do most of the talking: it was her turn, after all. It was her turn, after all. Here's what I learned.

Rebecca: So, how would describe tonight's theme?

Aimee: The Irish potato famine. In memory of those poor potatoes who died.

R: So how did you arrive upon this theme?

A: We were looking for a way to prepare an entire TND with no kitchen utilities and with limited funds.

R: How resourceful! And how did you locate the dish menus?

A: Through a Web search, of course.

R: Oh, and the search engine you chose was ....

A: Actually, we used Excite, and backed it up with a Yahoo search too.

R: Very thorough. So, where did you buy the ingredients?

A: Well, actually, we had to jump through all sorts of hoops to convince Safeway to sell us potatoes by the case. Once we succeeded in doing so, we got a pretty good deal on the meal.

R: Which was ...

A: Well, 60 pounds of potatoes. That equals a case and a half. The whole cost of the potatoes: approximately $35. With the rest of the ingredients -- butter, bacon, cheese, chives, and cinamon -- the entire meal cost less than $80.

R: Especially popular tonight was the potato candy. Can you speak briefly as to its origin?

A: Again, a recipe I found on the Net. An old Celtic specialty.

R: Special indeed. Tres magnifique, Aimee and Jim.

I was also enthralled with the shepherd's pie. So was everyone, judging by how quickly it vanished. This dish was a delicious combination of potatoes, spinach, tomato sauce, and garlic. I turned to Stuart Lewan for insight.

Stuart told me a delightful story of his decision to shop at upscale, trendy, and oh, so healthful Rainbow Grocery to buy his ingredients. Although he felt a bit guilty about having not brought his own grocery bags with him for the trip; had trouble while at the store actually locating the potatoes; and, in fact, perhaps spent a bit more per potato than would have been necessary; he emerged with high-quality potatoes to put into his high-quality pie. The extra effort showed and was warmly appreciated by all who were fortunate enough to taste the results of his effort before the last drop was licked up.

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