Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are almost too easy to bother writing up. But there are a few tricks that make them even better. The problem is, everyone likes them to be a little different. I like mine velvet smooth. Maybe you like yours lumpedy with skins. I keep the flavor simple and mild to serve as a good side to a rich or spicy dish. Mr. B would prefer a few cloves of roasted garlic in his. So I’ll just tell you what I do here.

It all starts with potatoes.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 medium or 1 honkin’ big russet potatoes

about 4 T butter

1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream (or milk or sour cream as your taste prefers)

1/2 t mustard powder

1/2 t salt (okay, I use more. I use more salt than any other living human, though.)

cheese and seasonings to taste


Peel the taters and chop into about 3/4 inch dice. Boil them in at least enough water to cover them for 10-15 minutes, until the chunks split in half when you stab them with a fork. Then drain them in a colander and smash them all up. I use a potato ricer, because it clears out every little last lump, but a traditional smasher or a fork or just a sturdy whisk will do.

Cut the butter up and toss it into the potatoes. Add the cream a bit at a time. No two potatoes are the same size nor absorb the same amount of water, so the amount of cream it takes to make them light and fluffy will always change.

Sorry, taking a picture of white food with flash can be complicated, especially when one is as unskilled a photographer as I am.  After that shot, I used my hand mixer on low speed to incorporate everything. You do not want to mix too long or too fast. Too much mixing leads to mashed glue, for sciencey reasons I’m too tired to go into at the moment. Remind me later. Sprinkle in salt and spices and mix just to incorporate, then gently stir in grated or crumbled cheese, if using. And voila, mashed potatoes. One of the greatest side dishes known to man.


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