Potatoes For Jayne

Mar 6, 2017

In happy times we celebrate with food, and in hard times we console each other with it. A few years back, my good friend Jayne lost her mother. I cooked her a dish I later named “Sympathy Salmon,” and wrote about it here on WFAEats.

This past summer, Jayne decided it was time to leave Charlotte. She’d been taking care of her father, but he’d recently died at age 84. She’d found a place in the mountains and was ready for the cooler air of a higher clime. I stopped over at her place one day in June to say good-bye. She was doing the final clean-out of her fridge.

“Here. Take this organic cheese I got at the farmer’s market.” It had to be nearly a pound. I accepted happily. “And these condiments,” she insisted. We filled bags with barely-opened bottles, a Mason jar of blackberry jam, a carton of cage-free eggs.

Potatoes for Jayne
Credit Amy Rogers / WFAEats

“Oh, wait! I have things in my freezer, too,” she said, adding a large package of frozen French fries to my bag before I could refuse. (We never eat these at my house but I didn’t want to be rude.) I brought the items home and put them away, stowing the processed potatoes at the very back of the freezer.

Summer droned on and finally gave way to fall. Jayne and I exchanged birthday wishes online.

And just as winter ushered in the new year, I unexpectedly found myself on the move – and needing to empty my own fridge. That’s when I unearthed the bag of potatoes in the freezer, forgotten since the summer. Not wanting to waste them, one February day I cooked them up. There’s nothing fancy about the method but they tasted great. They pair really well with salmon, and the next time I see Jayne, I know what I’ll be cooking for her.

Potatoes for Jayne

Bag of frozen French fries

Oil for frying

Soy sauce


Cajun or other seasoning (if desired)

In a large, cast-iron skillet heat 1/4” of oil over medium flame but don’t allow it to smoke. Add the potatoes in an even layer no more than two deep. Cover with a splatter screen if you have one. Cook until you see the potatoes browning when you lift up a corner, about 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes in sections (unless you can do it in one piece, which I can’t). While the second side cooks, sprinkle with soy sauce, paprika, Cajun and other seasonings if using. Continue cooking until brown. Serve immediately. Serves 2 to 3.