[48] Mashed Potatoes

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

What is roast chicken without some sort of delicious Solanaceae accompaniment? It is nothing. NOTHING, I say!

Furthermore, woe betide you if you pick the wrong member of the Solanaceae family. I mean, aside from some members being highly toxic, some having psychoactive effects (some doing both…), many would just be weird. I mean, I suppose I could imagine some folks feeling an urge to smoke after a good roast chicken, but that’s really Solanaceae after the roast chicken, not with.

So, we’ve narrowed down our Solanaceae choices to, “consumables”. I’m going to go a bit further and narrow it to “edibles”. Hell, let’s go a step further and narrow it to “major food crops”. So, we’re lookin’ at eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes. Any one of those things is delicious, I have to admit. Still, eggplant doesn’t groove with roast chicken all that often. Tomatoes are closer, but even they don’t scream, “We want to hang out in your belly with the roast chicken!”

No, obviously, the best Solanaceae friend of Gallus gallus domesticus is the potato. The delicious, humble, lovely potato. Possibly, the awesomest of all roots. (Though carrots are pretty rad too.) And when you smush the potato into a delicious mash? WELL. It’s amazing.

h2. Ingredients

2 lbs starchy or all-purpose potatoes (I get “starchy”, but what the hell is an “all-purpose” potato?)
1 c milk, plus more if needed

4 tbsp butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

h2. Instructions

Boil the potatoes as you see fit. Me, I peeled ’em and then chopped them into ~1/2″ chunks, then boiled them in a vat of water.

While potatoes are draining, wipe down the pot and put it back over medium-low heat. Add the milk and butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When the butter is almost melted, remove the pot from the heat, and either run them through a ricer or food mill into the milk mixture, or put the chunks directly into the milk and mash with a fork or potato masher. Once mashed, return them to the heat and stir constantly until they are the desired consistency, adding more milk as needed.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

Man, what an awesome sounding recipe. Too bad all I really manged to do was read the ingredients. This is because I learned this from the yellow Bittman book too (since the potato is “the best Solanaceae friend of Gallus gallus domesticus”, I made ’em both at the same time), and the technique is different. Of course, now that I say that, Nancy and Jen are going to call me on that statement. In all seriousness, though, I really do feel as if what I learned from Bittman before is not what this recipe calls for in these directions.

So, yeah, what we did was totally different. I boiled them as described above, drained them then dumped them in a pyrex bowl when they were tender and then handed Bill a potato masher and told him to get a’mashin’. Once the potatoes were sufficiently squished (in his opinion), he added the milk and butter and mashed those into the potato squish. It turned out a little liquid-y, but pink and fine.

Yes, pink. Jessie gave us a bunch of her potatoes, but it didn’t quite make up 2 lbs, so we threw in a couple of potatoes from the CSA. When I cut them open, they were pink inside! So cool.

h3. Consumption

First, don’t believe anyone who says something like, “They’re mashed potatoes; how can they go wrong?” Mashed potatoes can definitely go wrong. However, it is pretty difficult to screw them up.

These were a bit too liquid in texture, but not too bad. It wasn’t at all like eating potato soup. They were just fairly soft. But they tasted wonderful, and were pink-tinted. It’s really hard to beat delicious food that twists your brain around. Also, this recipe makes a pretty buttery mashed potato pile, so taste before adding stuff to it. I, despite my well known love of butter, did not add anything to my potatoes. Though, they ARE mashed potatoes, and so some more butter, salt or (for those who like it) gravy would probably not be amiss.

Just a thought. More butter rarely ruins a dish. Unless it’s cold cereal. Probably cold cereal does not need added butter.

2 thoughts on “[48] Mashed Potatoes

  1. Throwing them into the Pyrex bowl probably helped them cool down more, which meant it wasn’t steaming hot as Bittman probably intended. They were still good though.

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