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How To Cube a Potato and Why It Matters

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

I will be the first to admit I am not superwoman. I don't have a perfect spit-shine apartment, I use box mixes to bake brownies, I don't unload the dishwasher until I need something inside it, and my bathroom is an explosion of hair products. The point is that I am not the be all end all of housekeeping, but I've become known in my friend group as being a good cook and housekeeper.

How is that possible?

I recently came to realize why when my good friend Kayla came to visit for dinner (pre-pandemic). While I was cooking she asked if she could help with anything, so I gave her the task of peeling and cutting the potatoes into cubes for curry. "Just make them about dice sized, it doesn't need to be perfect." 15 minutes later I was done prepping the rest of the veggies and heating up the pan, but when I looked over Kayla was still struggling with her second potato.

Now, before you come at me for insulting a friend, let me explain. Kayla is brilliant. She has a masters degree in education, she is a diligent and hard worker, and has had my back through every trial and rough patch since high school. But Kayla's parents never taught her how to cut vegetables. And she is not alone; how many people do you know who consider boxed mac and cheese to be their top cooking ability?

As a society, we seem to have forgotten to teach kids the basics of cooking. Sure, we see Gordon Ramsey videos, and who can count how many recipes are bouncing around the internet, but when the recipe calls for you to "dice the onion", how do they know you know how to do that?

It's not your fault you don't know how to dice that onion in a quick and easy way, just like it wasn't a failing for Kayla not to know how to cube potatoes. These random blind spots are everywhere in the world, and there are a crazy number of things people assume are common knowledge, so they don't think to teach it.

So here's how I cube a potato:

  1. use a peeler to remove the skin

  2. slice a flat end, preferably taking off 1/2 inch from one of the long sides

  3. prop up the potato on the new flat surface

  4. make long, downward slices one way across the potato

  5. turn the potato 90 degrees, and repeat step 4

  6. lay your new potato straws flat, and cut across to make cubes

  7. Skill Unlocked: Cubing Potatoes

Now your spuds are ready to become curry, stew, a roasted side dish, and so much more. Plus, if you stop after step 5, you can make fries!

My point is, don't assume you know how to do something, and don't be afraid of admitting a gap in understanding. There's a reason Wikihow exists, and this is it. Teaching Kayla how to use a chefs knife and cut veggies was a bonding experience, and in the end, our curry tasted much better because of it.

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