My brother taught me everything I know about motion. How to swim, how to dive, how to ride a bike, how to drive. Actually, I think he taught me how to crawl too, but I did that backwards so we’ll take it off the list for credibility’s sake.
Six years older and ever wiser, he always saw me struggling to move forward. Clinging to the sides of the pool until I was well over seven. Pedaling my Twinkies ’round the tire of a Big Wheel even when the neighborhood kids were two wheeling at my side. Sitting anxiously at home the night before my driving test, waiting for my mom to come home from her sixteen hour shift so I could get one last bit of practice on the road.
He didn’t have patience with me being scared. Always within thirty minutes, he’d coerce me from my comfort zone. He popped the training wheels off my bike and assured me, “If you just keep pedaling and wiggle the handlebars, you won’t fall.” Okay. I peed my pants instead. He pried my fingers off the cement ledge and tossed me into the deep end of the pool. And when the time came to drive a car, he warned, “Andrea, hesitation will kill you on the road. Don’t be a doofus.” I hesitated.
That night before I got my license, he saw me panicking. Sitting cross-legged in front of Sister Sister with a sympathetic Pop Tart. He snatched it from my hand and directed me to the car.
I protested, “But Anthony, that was the brown sugar cinnamon kind and Tamera…”
I took my place in the driver’s seat. Polly perfectionist, prepping behind the wheel, practically hugging the airbag. Hands at ten and two. Sweat on my upper lip like a Got Milk? ad.
“What in the hell are you doing?” He reached over, clicked the underbelly of my seat, and my chair flew back to its farthest position. “But Anthony I feel like I’m in Papa’s recliner!”
“Sit back,” he said.
He told me to drop my left arm. “Andrea, no one holds the wheel like that. Don’t be an ignoramus.” Note to self: Don’t be an ignoramus.
We drove. Each time that I braked nervously, yielded unnecessarily, I heard him sigh. “Stop looking at the ground in front of the car. Look up and far ahead and take in the whole street. There’s no need to think so much.”
A quarter of me was scared of the road. Three quarters of me was scared of my brother.
I breathed for the first time in ten minutes. The air flowed cool into my deflated lungs and seeped between the clenched blades of my back, tension dissolving into the newly open space. I just…drove. Aware but not hyper-vigilant, holding on but not holding tight.
Twenty minutes later, my brother had taught me all I needed to know about driving. To sit back, to look far ahead, but stay present, and to avoid being an ignoramus. And to tell you the truth, that’s really all I needed to know about life too.
Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
These roasted reds are brilliant. Well-oiled and crisp crusted with deep garlic and onion flavor. Parmesan cheese- melted and beginning to bubble on their skins. Smooth, soft paste inside. I love that faint crack upon biting, the way my teeth sink into thick potato fluff. I love that they’re richer and more sophisticated than french fries, but delicious all the same. And I love that they’re a faithful companion to roasted chicken, but a friend to all dishes. They are everything you need to know and love at this moment.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Cut each potato into quarters and place in a large bowl.
Roast potatoes for 20 minutes, remove them from the oven and flip the potatoes so each side has a chance to evenly brown and crisp. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives.
Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
- 12 small red skinned potatoes, roughly the size of plums
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 TBSP Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Cut each potato into quarters and place in a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil and toss to coat.
- In a small bowl, blend the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add this mixture to your potatoes and use your hands to toss them until each potato is well covered in seasoning.
- Scatter potatoes in a single layer on a large, flat roasting pan that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes, remove them from the oven and flip the potatoes so each side has a chance to evenly brown and crisp.
- Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and roast for an additional 15 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley or chives.