Jason knew that he could never keep the recipe for the best roasted baby potatoes a secret. If he did, he would never be able to live with himself. He was, however, never going to fully understand the impact that he had.
The world deserved to finally gain access to the one and only way that this life-less vegetable was supposed to be cooked. He had traveled to many countries, exploring various ways that this easy-to-cultivate vegetable could be used. He knew that if he did not properly share it with the world, the misfortune would chase him in an afterlife. And Jason was a man of faith.
He did not wish for the food Gods to approach him and make his attempt at an afterlife miserable. No, he simply wanted to gain the acceptance of his peers. And under the encouragement of Thomas Jepsen, the long-forgotten story is shared.
The man, the legend
To truly understand and gain an appreciation for the story, it’s important to know where Jason came from. When he was alive, he lived in a humble 2 bedroom, one-story house. For his entire life, he sought to live a lifestyle that embraced the principle of zero waste.
He was a man of faith who believed that this life was one of redemption. If you had a lot of misdeeds in previous lives, you were finally given the chance to redeem yourself. Jason associated a string of early-life misfortunes with his previous life being complicated. He had lost a hand when an infection was spreading, having touched plants allergic to cats, dogs, and humans alike.
He was content with his living situation and had never wanted to build a mansion. Nor did he have an overarching desire to beat his neighbors that built a great L-shaped home. Even if they would taunt him every single time they saw him, he knew that his destiny was never supposed to involve riches. And he was fine with that.
In his earlier days, he had found a liking in helping others.
One day, he decided to quit his job so that he could dedicate all the time he had available to help those that had less than he did. Before donating plasma was a thing that science had found the many benefits of, he set out to help the world heal.
He had not liked what he was seeing. There was an ever-growing problem with the health of the world, both mentally and physically. Jason knew that it would take a lot of work to make a difference, but he was obsessed. He started teaching himself the art of healing people with plants. He did, however, find that it was struggling. With only one hand and a scare of losing his remaining one, he decided that was not for him.
Losing his original hand had never seemed to affect Jason. He kept a positive attitude and was simply happy that he was able to stay alive and continue working on his mission. Jason was not happy leaving this world before he felt he had had a major impact on the world.
He spent a year where he built cheap, 3-bedroom houses for families that had lost everything. But after building houses for a year, he was still not satisfied. He contemplated starting one of society’s first non-profits, as King Gustav had announced an initiative to roll out a new concept in schools. They were calling it standardized testing.
Never really being good at school, Jason knew that it would be a concept many people like himself would struggle with.
If there was one thing that Jason had always wanted, it was to be better at school than he had been. Despite being the only time he ever felt envious, he did not want others to suffer the way he did. He grew up feeling inadequate at school. Coming from a poor background, he had never had the financial resources to get the help that his neighbors had. And he hated that he felt inadequate about his shortcomings. It wasn’t even that he was vastly behind his peers. He did relatively fine in subjects like math, and he even wrote a great poem that was read in front of the entire country. But it didn’t stop him from fighting with his self-perceived inadequacies every single day.
Jason wanted to leave a legacy. Unfortunately, the day that he died, he still thought he was going to be remembered as inadequate. That was, of course, if he was even remembered at all.
As he was lying knowing he did not have many breaths left, he struggled to accept his achievements. He had always done a lot for others but left this planet feeling like he hadn’t done enough. As unfortunate as it was, he was still a man that would leave a lasting impact on a lot of people.
He did not know just how much he would manage to change. The number of people that would be living happier lives as a consequence of the quests that he went on.
And it all started one day when he got together with friends and turned on his oven. Hidden away in an old box, he found a recipe for oven country-style ribs. As he was celebrating something big in his life, he decided on going all in. He also made the million-dollar, Dorito crack recipe that had been passed down from his grandfather.
He spent several hours in the kitchen as he was adding various spices to the recipes he was making. At the time, spices were a costly thing, but he told himself that his friends deserved only the best. He never wanted to settle for average, which was why he spent so much time cooking that night. After all, it was a party night. He got to celebrate a major achievement.
The night was full of laughs, and plenty of stories were shared between friends. To Jason, it was probably the night of his life that had the most meaning. It was the night when he figured out what he was supposed to do for the remainder of his time on earth. When the food came out, all his friends were ecstatic.
They all told him that they had never tasted anything as tasty in life, and they meant it. His eyes lit up. It was finally the moment when he did not feel inadequate. He now knew what he would do for the remainder of his life. No longer was he out building houses for others, but rather building beautiful things that would satisfy many taste buds.
Jason also knew that he wouldn’t be able to achieve what he wanted to achieve if he was staying where he was currently living. He felt like he had to go out and see the mountains. He had to see the ocean. He had to explore other cultures and see how they differed. What they ate. How did they prepare their food?
These were all thoughts that were flying through his head as he was planning out his future. All of this was happening in the few hours where his friends were over. Little did they know the impact that they had on him that night.
Little did he know that he was going to discover that the best potatoes for roasting are baby potatoes, with a simple, yet elegant addition of various herbs. He was going to be the man that finally answered the question of “what to do with potatoes”. The obvious answer is that you need to put potatoes in the oven for 17 minutes at 400 degrees with healthy amounts of rosemary.
Who knew this petite potato recipe could be so extremely delicious, using as simple a device as an oven.
The morning after
The following day he woke up before the sun was even up. Knowing that his life had been forever altered, he could not stay in bed. While he adored his boss, he went in and told him the reason why he was leaving. His boss had always been a fan of Jason, but he also knew that the day would come when he would no longer be able to provide him with the meaning in life that he was looking for.
Being a good man, Jason had never burned any bridges. His boss and he would leave on good terms. They promised each other that when their paths would allow it, they would reconvene. The boss had been good to Jason. He had always let him leave whenever the situation absolutely required it. Now, the world was calling for Jason to find his calling, and to pursue it as well.
Feeling energized, Jason knew that it was going to be now or never. He walked straight down to the port and looked around. He saw a couple of men loading barrels onto a ship, and that’s when it struck him. He increased his pace as he started walking towards the doc where the men were. There were still ten barrels left standing. Not knowing what to expect, he leaned over ever so slightly to grab one of them.
He had never been in a position of doing a lot of manual labor, and he was definitely surprised by the weight of the barrel.
The adventure begins
Stars started rising in his head as he was realizing what he was doing. It was suddenly becoming so real to him that he didn’t know what he was doing, nor where he was going, just that he was suddenly living the dream he had suddenly found. He wanted to spread happiness through food, and he was pursuing the dream, not knowing where the dream was going to take him.
The next thing that happened was that the stars inside Jason’s head started intensifying. He was on the boat, and he was getting dizzy. The ship was not even sailing anywhere. Suddenly his knees were getting weak. The barrel was only raised a couple of inches above the deck as he had been following the other guy with it. Perhaps it was the heat that struck him. Perhaps it was the reality of what it was he was doing. Perhaps it was simply from doing work that he wasn’t used to doing.
For each step he was taking, he could feel his feet slowly giving up. The stars inside his head were now being overtaken by a gray cloud that seemed to push everything else away. What was even happening?
At this point his mind gave up, and so did his feet. It was suddenly as if he had stepped into a puddle of cement that had dried in the span of a microsecond. He suddenly felt himself falling forward over the barrel, unable to do anything.
Waking up, confused
The next thing he remembered was his eyes opening ever so slightly. He could feel the boat rocking, or so he thought. His head was still spinning. A man was standing over Jason. The barrel was gone and the sun was shining down strong on him. He was not laying where he thought he had passed out.
“Where am I?” Jason uttered. The next time he woke up, he was lying in a bed that was too short for him. This time he was feeling a lot better and the extreme headache seemed to have subsided. He got out of bed. This time no one was standing over him anymore. He felt weaker than he had been before, and he suddenly had a beard, too. How long had he been out? As he got out on the deck, the sun felt especially strong. There was land once again, but everyone looked different.
The boat had not yet gotten to shore but the final preparations were made as the ship was gently approaching. Jason could hear a lot of shouting. Jason’s arrival to India was unexpected. He had gotten on a ship, perhaps dreaming of ending up in a different country with different aromas and different languages. He was sure that if he was ever going to develop the recipe that would cement his legacy, he would need to do it in different surroundings. Standing in a foreign country where no one spoke the same language as him was what he had told himself he wanted, yet in the moment it seemed scary.
He carried a barrel off the boat and placed it where the other men had placed theirs. This time he was making sure that he did it at a slower pace. Despite it being a warm day, he never felt dizzy. In the heat of the moment, Jason thought it was the right decision to wander off into the city. He also felt noticeably skinnier than he had before. It was then that he started remembering things from the ship.
He had in fact woken up. It was as if the adrenaline had suppressed the memory of the voyage. In his head, he was trying to figure out how long he had been on the ship. Being unfamiliar with life on a boat, he had fallen sick for periods of time. His periods of disease were often troubled with hallucinatory experiences. Often, Jason was unable to tell what was real and what wasn’t.
The truth is that he was much skinnier than when he had left England. His best guess was that the voyage across the ocean had taken six months. It was at this moment he realized that he had left without saying goodbye to anyone. His last evening in England had been sharing the various meals that would inspire him to embark on the adventure he was now on.
A new country
At first, he did not even know the city he had landed in. He knew that people spoke a language that was very different from the language he had been used to. Jason had seen people from different countries as he would often hang out by the port, but he had never seen anything quite like this.
People’s body language was different, and so was the way everyone was interacting. It’s crazy to think about the fact that this best oven-roasted potato recipe stems from a man falling over a barrel in England and waking up in India. But here we are. Here’s the one and only way that you should be going about cooking as boring of a vegetable as the potato.