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Little Potatoes

(by Emily Berry)

Charlotte potatoes, or “little potatoes,” as they are known in my house, are always incorporated into the meals my mum makes for us. Every. Single. Time. Even though she knows I don’t like them.

I am a first-year university student in Canterbury, England, forced to move out of my accommodation (with two days notice) due to coronavirus. During that stressful time, it was great to be with my family again, having home-cooked meals, but also hard to go back to codependency after having my own space and seeing more of the world.

The supermarket shelves in North London, where I grew up, can be empty, and Mum talks about how crazy it seems that something like food shopping could be considered dangerous. The chaos and confusion are like something out of a natural disaster film. But despite the adventure of going to the supermarket, the little potatoes always manage to find a way into her bag, no problem. They fill up the shopping bags and then the basket under the sink where the vegetables are stored. They fill up each plate again and again. Since she knows I don’t like them, she’ll only give me two or three, but that’s two or three too many. Then she’ll give me this look, the same as when I was little—a look that says: I know you don’t like them, but they’re good for you. So eat them. And I do, with effort, and a lot of salt.