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 never going to understand the impact that he had fully.
The world deserved to finally gain access to the only way this life-less vegetable was supposed to be cooked. He had traveled to many countries, exploring ways to use this easy-to-cultivate vegetable. 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 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 appreciate the story, it’s important to know where Jason came from. He lived in a humble 2 bedroom, one-story house when he was alive. He sought to live a lifestyle that embraced the principle of zero waste for his entire life.
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 a 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 who built a great L-shaped home. Even if they would taunt him every 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 to dedicate all the available time to helping those who had less than he did. Before donating plasma was something science had found 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 world’s mental and physical health. 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 find that it was a struggle. He decided that it was not for him with only one hand and a scare of losing his remaining one.
Losing his original hand had never seemed to affect Jason. He kept a positive attitude and was happy 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 building 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. Jason 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. The day he died, he still thought he would be remembered as inadequate. That was if he was even remembered at all.
Knowing he did not have many breaths left, he struggled to accept his achievements as he was lying. 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 who would leave a lasting impact on many people.
He did not know just how much he would manage to change. The number of people who would be living happier lives due to 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 passed down from his grandfather.
He spent several hours in the kitchen as he added various spices to his recipes. At the time, spices were a costly thing. 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 many stories were shared between friends. It was probably the night of his life that had the most meaning to Jason. 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 outbuilding houses for others, but rather building beautiful things that would satisfy many taste buds.
Jason also knew that he wouldn’t achieve what he wanted to achieve if he stayed 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 in what they ate. How did they prepare their food?
These were all thoughts flying through his head as he planned out his future. All of this was happening in the few hours when his friends were over. Little did they know the impact that they had on him that night.
Little did he know that he would 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 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. He also knew that the day would come when he would no longer provide him with the meaning in life that he was looking for.
Being a good man, Jason had never burned any bridges. He and his boss would leave on good terms. They promised each other that they would reconvene when their paths would allow it. The boss had been good to Jason. He had always let him leave whenever the situation 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 would 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 walked 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 to do a lot of manual labor, and he was surprised by the barrel’s weight.
The adventure begins
Stars started rising in his head as he realized 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. Jason was suddenly living the dream he had suddenly found. He wanted to spread happiness through food. 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.
He could feel his feet slowly giving up for each step he was taking. The stars inside his head were now overtaken by a gray cloud that seemed to push everything else away. What was even happening?
At this point, his mind gave up. So did Jason’s feet. It was as if he had stepped into a puddle of cement. It had dried in the span of a microsecond. He 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 lying where he thought he had passed out.
“Where am I?” Jason uttered. The next time he woke up, he was lying in a too-short bed for him. He was feeling a lot better this time, 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 before, and he suddenly had a beard. 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 in India was unexpected. He had gotten on a ship, perhaps dreaming of ending up in a different country with different aromas. Jason wanted to experience different languages. He was sure that if he were ever developing 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 he was what he had told himself he wanted. At that specific moment, it seemed scary.
He carried a barrel off the boat and placed it where the other men had placed theirs. This time, he made 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 woken up. It was as if the adrenaline had suppressed the memory of the voyage. He was trying to figure out how long he had been on the ship in his head. Being unfamiliar with life on a boat, he had fallen sick for periods. His periods of disease were often troubled with hallucinatory experiences. Often, Jason could not 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. 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 very different language 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. 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 only way you should be cooking as boring of a vegetable as a potato.