I'm not a health nut. I'm not a "good" vegan either. When given the chance at a fancy enough place, I will break my veganism. Does that make me a bad person? Nah. Just realistic. And addicted to chocolate. Don't tell anyone that I ate that flourless chocolate cake at Carrol St. Cafe last night. It paired oh so well with the house Merlot though!
So I'm from the South, and being from the South means that you grow up with Waffle House EVERYWHERE. Somehow I managed to avoid it until I started leading backpacking trips in college. There's something amazing about walking into a Waffle House after being in the woods for days and days and days, smelling like a dead skunk, and looking like a beaver who just fought a mountain lion and somehow survived, and being served a cup of black coffee and a plate of hash browns. It is heaven. And the Waffle House ladies don't bat an eye. In the city I get my fix at the Majestic Diner whenever I'm out dancing or drinking or meandering around town at three in the morning. Hash browns are my intellectual soul food. Some of the best conversations I've had occurred over a plate of hash browns and a mug of coffee. Hash browns make my world go 'round.
I love hash browns. I think potatoes are God's gift to mankind (along with chocolate, Beligian beer, and everything bagels), and skillet cooked potatoes with onions and ketchup is even better. This is my comfort food. And my poor student food. Some people have Ramen; I have hashbrowns.
All that said, there's no real recipe to an amazing plate of spuds. Take an onion and a couple of potatoes. Slice them up. Throw them in a pan with several tablespoons of oil (amount depends on how much you're making), cook for 20-25 minutes. Serve with ketchup. If you want to mix in meat, cheese, mushrooms, peppers, etc., add it at the end with five minutes or so to go.
All you have to do now is eat them. Relish the potatoes, sauteed to a tender yet crisp skinned perfection. Drink a cup of black coffee, smoke a cigarette, talk about Martin Heidegger. You won't regret it.