1 / 2 pound of mashed potatoes*
4 tbsp. butter
1 / 4 pint of milk
2 tbsp. tomato paste (or to taste)
1 c. Monchego cheese (or another variety of mild, semi-firm, cheese), grated
Mash potatoes with salt, butter, and milk. Stir in tomato paste. Stir in 1/2 c. of the grated cheese. Smooth potato mix into a casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese atop potatoes. Place on wrack in center of the oven and broil on low until cheese is golden-brown and bubbling.
*This dish is a fantastic redress for leftover mashed potatoes. If you have already mashed your potatoes and don’t want to add the milk, butter, and salt it will still be delicious.
I pressed my wet cheek into the bright orange and pink pillow slip. I stared at the shadowed wall, gulped in a breath. I wept until my eyelids puffed and my lashes were caked with dried saline. I slept. When I woke, the shadows on the wall were altered, my skin was warmed by a duvet that had been drawn over me in sleep.
A light clink of dishes, and some muffled Spanish conversation, drifted through the crack in the door. I burrowed under the covers, hiding my nose and eyes. I heard the door hinge whine, and felt a thin hand upon my shoulder.
Pilar looked at me with gentleness. Her hands swept elegantly toward the now open door. I swung my feet to the floor and felt a stab of pain. Pilar supported my elbow as I shuffled toward the table on my thickly bandaged feet.
A steaming dish of mashed potatoes crusted with melted-gold-brown cheese was placed on a trivet in the center of the table.
Over the next nine days Pilar made the potatoes three times. She knew that they reminded me of home. She knew that comfort can be as simple as a familiar meal. The night before I continued my journey she pressed the recipe into my hand, and on my healed feet, I carried it to my journal to press it between the pages.