Here's how low I have sunk: I bought Potato Buds.
You know what Potato Buds are, right? They are an abomination of nature. They are flakes of dehydrated potatoes plus some chemicals and food additives that simulate actual mashed potatoes when mixed with hot water, milk and butter.
When prepared, they smell like the inside of a sneaker.
I only bought them because A. Peevie has acquired a mysterious malady whose primary symptoms are fatigue, sore throat, and headache--and he has only been able to eat soft foods for going on nine days so far. I can't keep feeding him only ice cream, even though he would have no problem with this narrow diet; and he won't eat yogurt, applesauce, or pudding. And I can't be making real mashed potatoes three times a day.
So Potato Buds it is. They smell as appetizing as a soggy basement carpet two weeks after a flood--and yet my kids love them. C. Peevie saw me serving his favorite food to his little brother, and decided to try them; and then M. Peevie made Pretend Potatoes her favorite after-school snack.
Even Mr. Peevie, who usually has much grander sensibilities when it comes to foodstuffs, was fooled, eating the faux-poes without realizing their unnatural origins.
Well, I suppose their origins are natural enough. Betty Crocker herself claims that "each 28 oz. box" of faux-poes "is made from 17.5 pounds of fresh potatoes!" But the mono and diglycerides, the sodium bisulfite, and the butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT is what the box says, but cleverly using initials doesn't make it any less a chemical additive, Betty!) turn lovely, lovely potatoes into a freakish chemistry experiment masquerading as a side dish.
But they help keep the skinniest Peevie nourished in his time of need, so I guess I must concede that Potato Buds have found their place in the Peevie Pantry.
Just don't tell my mother.