Scalloped potatoes. We instinctively choose this dish. I drive to the grocery and buy potatoes and a potluck aluminium pan that can be thrown away. More milk, whole milk with all the fat. After all, I'm making comfort food.
I go to my oldest recipe book. The one I bought as a teenager over two decades ago because my Mother owned it. Although it's Better Homes, I always think of it as Betty Crocker. The black haired woman of my Home Ec years who stands for everything perfect in home-making. A woman I'm sure must dye her hair. The Martha Stewart of my generation. She looks younger on the cake mix box now, aging younger as I age older.
I begin peeling potatoes. Looking beneath the skin. There's plenty of time to think as I peel. Think about this cookbook and the meals my Mother used to prepare. The hot dishes of my childhood. The curious notion of comfort food.
I count the potatoes according to the recipe. Six medium potatoes. I choose ten, two are small and I plan to increase the recipe by half. I peel and peel. I rinse the white flesh beneath the peel. The board is wet with potatoes. I slice as thinly as possible, knowing that it will take a long time for the potato to bake to softness. When Ann made them for her aunt, after two hours they still hadn't cooked soft enough.