This is not a recipe, because I don’t believe in mashed potato recipes. This is more of a conversation about mashed potatoes.
Or perhaps an ode.
After all, mashed potatoes are a beautiful thing and deserving of poetry. Odes, ballads, songs. Mashed potatoes are a staple of many meals around my house, but without a doubt, they appear at the holiday table. “Every day” mashed potatoes are usually made in what I call “rustic” mashed potato fashion. That means just using a hand-held masher. I actually love, and in some ways prefer, rustic mashed potatoes. Throw some milk, butter, salt, and pepper in there, mash ‘em up right in the pot you used to cook them, and they make the meal, whether it’s chicken fried steak, pork chops, whatever, it’s not the same without the mashed potatoes.
“Holiday” mashed potatoes are a whole ‘nother thing. Holidays are deserving of using the electric mixer. (Sometimes birthdays, too.) On a holiday, I whip the potatoes to smooth and creamy perfection. If it’s a major holiday involving a huge feast, I make the potatoes early in the day and put them in a crock pot on low. That gets the potatoes out of the way, keeps ‘em warm, and leaves me time for other things. I sprinkle the top with parsley and let a dab of butter drool all over it.
Holiday mashed potatoes, hot and ready when you are.
For holiday mashed potatoes, I usually add garlic and shredded cheese plus cream cheese. Cream cheese is the number one secret ingredient for the richest, creamiest mashed potatoes. You don’t necessarily want to throw the five hundred thousand extra calories into your every day rustic mashed potatoes, but since calories don’t count in holiday meals anyway, that’s the time to go all out.
A little story as an aside, one year my mother, who got more and more “frugal” with her eating habits as she got older (and I don’t mean frugal in terms of cost but in terms of health-consciousness), announced that she was making the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes without milk or butter. Just water! They mashed up wonderfully and deliciously with just water! Or so she said. Everyone stared at her with suspicious eyeballs. By the way, she was opposed to salt, too, so you can just imagine how these mashed potatoes tasted. They were the worst mashed potatoes I ever had in my life. I don’t think anyone allowed her to ever make mashed potatoes again. (Lesson to you: Do not try new and extreme health-conscious ideas on a holiday.) I would probably only eat mashed potatoes with water ever again under one circumstance–if I could have Thanksgiving with my mother again.
Okay, back to good mashed potatoes. Tell me about your holiday mashed potatoes?