COOKING FOR ONE.

WELL, HERE WE are again with Herb’s Cooking for One, the show where we cook things guys like to eat. I’m Al, filling in for Herb, who’s learning to blink his eyes in Morse code, or maybe he’s just got an itch, but anyway hello out there, Herb. Today we’re going to cook something that actually grew on a plant, but don’t worry cause it’s not green. It’s called a potato, and you’ve probably eaten one before. But now you’re actually going to see how we cook one, which means you’ll be able to eat one even when your wife isn’t home. And cooking one is about the most fun you can have in the kitchen without a chainsaw, so let’s get cooking!

Now the first thing you need is a potato. Potatoes come in the section of your supermarket where they have a sign that says “PRO-duce.” It’s spelled the same as “pro-DUCE,” and frankly I don’t know how you’re supposed to tell the difference. The first time I noticed it in the Foodland, I thought it was some sort of motivational poster. You know, for the employees, so they would work harder. They could use a motivational poster, cause all I ever see the stockboys doing is hanging out in front of the parking meters smoking cigarettes, which they’re too young to do anyway cause they all look like they’re about twelve.

So anyway, potatoes come in big bags that say “Idaho” on them, which is the name of the country potatoes come from. I think it’s like somewhere between France and Egypt. Now, the first thing I noticed when I got the potatoes home was that they were all really dirty. So I went back to the Foodland and complained to the manager. He tried to tell me some crazy story about potatoes growing underground, as if I’d believe that. I told him there was no excuse for dirty fruit, and he shouldn’t make stuff up cause I was smarter than that. He said, “Didn’t I throw you out of my store once already?” I told him there was no need to bring up the macaroni incident, cause we were talking about potatoes now. Man, they have some big security guards at that place. Anyway, I just ran the potatoes through the dishwasher and they were fine.

So this lumpy thing is a potato. And this box on the counter is a microwave oven, which you probably know already, but I don’t like to take things for granted. Last time when I talked about your “stove,” I just assumed you all knew what I was talking about, and boy did I get letters. This is where it really starts to get fun, by the way, so pay attention. What I’m going to do is open up the door to the microwave and put the potato inside like this. Then I close the door. Then I set the timer. It doesn’t really matter how long because—and here’s the really neat thing about potatoes—the potato itself is going to tell you when it’s done. So I’ll just set it for 99:99 to start with. What time is it when your clock says 99:99? Time to get a new clock! Ha ha ha! The producers told me to put more jokes in, so there’s one now. I hope somebody is counting.

So I push “start,” and now the microwave is going. And this is going to take a while, so you could go read the sports page or something, except they’ll probably cut out the next few minutes in editing.

—Okay, we’ve been here for a while now, and it’s getting near—Whoa! There it is! Did you hear that thud? See, that’s how a potato lets you know it’s done: by blowing up in your microwave. Isn’t that convenient? Now all we have to do is open the door and scrape the hot potato shards off the inside of the microwave.

Now, you can eat your potato with just about anything. Some people like it with butter. Some people say they like it with sour cream, but I say if your cream has gone sour it’s time to throw it out. Didn’t your mother teach you anything? And some people like it with cheese, which is how I like it, cause cheese comes in this convenient spray can, which makes it way easier to deal with than butter or nasty rancid cream.

And there you have your potato—some assembly required, I guess, but still it’s a potato. So that’s it for this week’s show. If you’re thinking of sending Herb a card, you might think of drawing a picture instead of writing words, cause he seems to respond to pictures. Until next time, this is Al saying what Herb always says, which is, “Remember, cooking is for guys, too.”