Headbloom Blog

Peeling Potatoes: A New, Easier Method
A lesson on cooking, slang, and American culture

Dawn Wells is a spokesperson for the potato industry in Idaho, the biggest potato producer in the U.S. Dawn is best known for appearing in an American sitcom from the 1960s, Gilligan’s Island. She played a young woman named Mary Ann who is stranded on a tropical Pacific island with six other Americans. (The theme song is very well known in the U.S. You can listen to it here as you read the lyrics below.) Although the show only lasted three seasons, it is frequently seen in re-runs on American TV.

In this 2-minute video, Dawn gives tips on how to effortlessly peel a potato. The vocabulary is very interesting, so I’ve included explanations below. Happy viewing!

Potato Peeling Video [1:48]

New Vocabulary and Cultural Concepts

  • a sitcom = situation comedy, a weekly television show featuring jokes about a cast of characters who share the same environment
  • Gilligan’s Island = http://bit.ly/kONCVR
  • the Professor [0:12] = one of the seven people stranded on the island with Mary Ann
  • to knock his socks off [0:24] = to impress him very much
  • a doozy [0:26] = something very impressive (from nickname for the special automobile Duisenberg)
  • bring water to a boil [0:28] = heat the water until it boils
  • to score (the potato) [0:38] = cut a line into the surface of (the potato)
  • to plunk (into the water) [0:43] = to drop (into the water)
  • holding a magazine sideways [0:52] = looking at a two-page photo of an attractive person with little or no clothing on
  • Professor was a hunk [0:54] = He was very sexy, very good looking
  • tongs [1:04] = utensil with two sides for grasping hot objects (Grammar note: Tongs are always plural even though the two parts are connected. Similar to pants, scissors, glasses.)

The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island
by George Wyle & Sherwood Schwartz

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan,
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star,
The professor, and Mary Ann
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

So this is the tale of the castaways.
They’re here for a long, long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things.
It’s an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too
Will do their very best
To make the others comfortable
In the tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights, no motor cars,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As primative as can be.

So join us here each week, my friends.
You’re sure to get a smile
From seven stranded castaways
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

photo: tvguide.com (back L to R) Mr. Howell, Mrs. Howell, Ginger, the Skipper, Mary Ann (front L to R) the Professor, Gilligan
photo of tongs: fotolia.com

Alan Headbloom