The Potato Chronicles

I’m not really an expert at anything except perhaps making mashed potatoes. In fact, I’m thinking of bringing a huge vat of mashed potatoes to Wednesday night’s blogging event at the College or St. Rose. If people don’t like me or my stupid blog, maybe some mashed potatoes will change their minds.

Anyway, there are roughly a billion recipes out there for mashed potatoes, but many people still can’t make them. Here are a few of my secrets.

The potatoes: I use un-peeled red potatoes. The peels add some color to the mix and they probably have lots of fiber in there. Slice them into quarters and cook until just tender. As soon as you get your potatoes in the water — that sounds a bit lewd, doesn’t it? — turn your attention to the garlic.

Garlic: Roasting whole cloves of garlic and squeezing them out into the potatoes is time consuming, messy, and generally a pain in the ass. Instead, I peel my garlic and throw it in a little pan with with olive oil. Brown it gently until soft and tender — which conveniently takes about the same amount of time as cooking the potatoes. Put the cloves in with your drained potatoes and mash them all together.

The Masher: I rescued mine from my Mom’s giant garage sale before selling her house. It needs to be bent back into shape after I use it, but I just like the way it feels in my hand. Don’t ever use a machine to mash your potatoes.

Milk, butter, cream, etc: This is the subject of intense debate in the mashed potato community. The answer? It depends. I tend to never use butter, instead going for the milk and cream. The amount of each depends on your situation. Use just milk if you’re counting calories — but counting calories and eating mashed potatoes don’t really go together, do they? Add equal amounts of each until it looks right. As for salt and pepper, just do it to taste. You can’t make mashed potatoes without tasting them.

There, now you know. Are you happy now? By the way, if you’re one of those people who would put instant mashed potatoes on the table, I have one question: are you nuts? Next time we learn to make gravy.

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