|Image via Wikimedia Commons|
I was still in high school and had gotten home from school early due to a half-day. I knew my parents and sister would be home for lunch at around the same time, so I decided to have food ready for them. I wrapped four potatoes in foil and placed them on the table in a neat row. I set the oven to preheat and left the kitchen.
The oven beeped about five minutes later. When I left my bedroom, there was a strong smell pervading the house. It was the distinct, starchy scent of baked potatoes.
I rushed to the kitchen table. There they were, wrapped and raw, lined up like tiny astronauts.* Okay, I thought. Weird. But whatever. And I opened the oven... only to find four already cooked potatoes inside.
Four. Unwrapped potatoes. Already thoroughly cooked. Inside the oven.
When my parents and sister (and eventually, brother) got home, I interrogated them. Everyone denied baking any potatoes, either that day or the day before or even two days before. I was mystified, and just dubbed the event "First Strike of the Baked Potato Ghost." Much like Roswell and the Bigfoot, the mystery remains unresolved.
Today, I decided to bake three potatoes. I popped them in the oven and forgot about them until two hours later. They're probably done by now, I thought. So I went to turn the oven off and was dismayed to find it already off. I peeked in the oven and checked the potatoes. Warm. Not hot. And done. Well-done, in fact.
I realize that today's mystery isn't as dramatic as the first, and is rather easily explained. I may have inadvertently set off the oven timer (if there is one in my oven). I may have hit the off-button without even thinking about it.
But I couldn't help but remember The Baked Potato Ghost. And I've been wondering if he or she or it... strikes again.
*I'm not the only one who immediately thinks of astronauts whenever foil wrapper is involved. There are others. ...Right?