“Comfort of Home” Sherry Potatoes

Posted on: March 3rd, 2010 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

sherry barrel“If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.” ~ Sir Alexander Fleming

In our culture we have a trusted recipe for success:

1. Stay in school.
2. Get good grades.
3. Go to a good college.
4. Get a  good job with good benefits.
5. Make good retirement plans.

While this is a route that works for many, you have to admit that it is so “in the box” you can almost see the sides of the box. While many happily find success this route, we know there are just as many who find it outside of “the box.” In fact, life has thrown some people way outside of the box and they have to be a dreamer to find their own way.

George is a well respected and charismatic engineer. He has been happily married to Tabitha for 17 years and they have two gorgeous daughters. They prefer to call their girls by their pet names. Their 5-year old is “Moo-moo” and the 2-year old is “Beezer.”

George is known for his energy and hilarious sense of fun. He laughs often and loudly and is the first suspect in an office prank. He and Tabitha are often the last to leave a party and George is notorious for ripping up the dance floor.

The home George has made for himself and his family is very different from the one he was raised in. Before he turned 2, his parents broke up and his mom spiralled into schizophrenia, so George had to live with his grandparents. While his grandparents cared for him deeply, they found George’s energy challenging to work with. By the time he was in middle school he had become quite a handful. He had also discovered that he had a terrific sense of humour and during his pre-teens he realized if he got in trouble, it was more interesting if he was funny.

On a particularly challenging day in Grade 9, one of his teachers got frustrated with him and sent him out of the room. The teacher expected George to wait in the hall, instead he made his way to the courtyard just outside the room. When the teacher realized George was mocking him through the windows, he called in the principal. The courtyard only had two access doors, so the principal came out one door and the teacher was at the other. They were certain they had George cornered.

Relying on his rule “If you get in trouble, it’s more interesting if you’re funny,” George started running around. It must have seemed like a scene out of a National Lampoon movie. George was running around the courtyard and giggling while the principal and teacher chased him. All the while, the kids in every class that overlooked the courtyard had their noses pressed against the glass, laughing and cheering on their destined-for-detention hero.

George never finished high school; he didn’t even finished Grade 9. With the trouble he was in, his guidance counsellor told him he might as well drop out because he wasn’t going to amount to much. If that wasn’t enough, the school board got him his first job putting Jolly Jumpers together at a factory for developmentally challenged adults.

George spent the next 10 years swinging from job to job, to evening school and back to another job again and again. He was direction-less and often in trouble. Finally, his grandparents ran out of options and kicked him out. While living in a park, he ended up in the hospital after an accident in a stolen car. His mom then took him home to her place. George and his mom loved each other dearly, but it did not work well. He and Tabitha had just started dating, so he moved into her family’s home, but Tabitha’s family had their own struggles. At the ripe age of 17 George and Tabitha knew they were better on their own, so they moved out.

When George was 20 and Tabitha was 19, they got married. The odds were stacked precariously against the young couple. George’s job prospects were limited and they had no one but themselves to rely on. The two of them did have one thing in their favour; they were dreamers. They believed they could create something better than what they had been shown.

By the time George turned 25, he and Tabitha had established a solid home for themselves. He knew he was ready for further training and he got admitted to a reputable engineering program under the school’s mature student program with two requirements. He had to complete high school equivalency exams in English and Math. The English was fine. The Math was not.

That summer, just weeks before his college program was to begin, the local adult education centre insisted he complete Grade 11 Math before starting the Grade 12 Math. It was going to delay him from starting at the college, so he negotiated a never-been-done-before short cut. After passing the Grade 11 Math test – without taking the course – he completed his Grade 12 in a few weeks with flying colours! Just in time to start the engineering program in the fall.

Today, George and Tabitha have created a solid, loving home. What they needed but were not given in their youth, they have created for themselves and their daughters. Living outside “the box” they have defied all the odds and become enormously successful in all areas of their lives and they are still dreaming. Last year they bought their first investment property and have now become landlords. The sky truly is the limit for them, yet the joys and comforts of home are what mean the most.

George just loves these sherry potatoes. They are true comfort food. He says to be sure to cover all the potatoes well with the sherry and butter mix.


Sherry PotatoesAmontillado sherry

Olive oil spray
3-4 medium sized potatoes cut thin into ¼ ” slices (½ cm)
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup dry sherry
salt and pepper

Layer the sliced potatoes in a casserole dish that was sprayed with olive oil. Mix the melted butter and sherry together and pour the mixture over the potatoes. Be sure to cover the potatoes well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake uncovered at 375°F for an hour.


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