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Did you ever eat white paste when you were in kindergarten or first
grade? Suuuure you did! Maybe that's why so many people eat instant mashed
potatoes. In my kitchen, they have their place-- for thickening, coating and for a
serious emergency. Otherwise, actual real potatoes are fast, probably more
nutritious, economical, and a lot more tasty. This creamy dish goes so well with
eggs or meats, plus helps small children eat things that want to escape, like peas, lima
beans and whole kernel corn. Here's some hints to make mashed 'taters better and
Best Mashed Potatoes
- Put water on to boil while you peel the potatoes. If you're in
a terrible rush, start with hot water from the faucet. Add a dollop, squirt or small
glug of vegetable oil; it keeps them from foaming and boiling over and makes cleanup
Salt water very lightly if at all. Cover to heat water faster.
- Peel potatoes thinly, with a peeler. The modern peeler came
into common use during World War II as a way to conserve food, and it works.
I like Tupperware«'s
great peeler. Remove any gray spots; they may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) fungus.
Likewise any green just under the peel; it's mildly poisonous. Cut into
1" to 1-1/4" cubes for quicker, more even cooking. Put all the cubes
at once into the boiling or nearly boiling water.
- Bring to a full boil, then turn down to medium. When tender, in
perhaps 10 minutes, drain well in a colander. To retain
heat, if you aren't going to mash them that very second, place colander on top of the
cooking pan to finish draining, and place pan lid on top the colander to help keep in the
warmth. If it will have to set a few minutes, place a paper towel in between the lid
and the potatoes, to absorb condensation.
- Mash potatoes with your electric beater. Use slow speed until
well chopped up. Add butter, or lite margarine if you wish to save a little
calories and fat. Heat a little milk to the boiling point in a mug in the microwave
and add to potatoes. For richer flavor, especially if you are cutting back on the
butter, use evaporated milk, whole or fat free. (Freeze the rest in an ice cube tray
for later use.) Some people like to add
chicken broth instead of milk, or even
half-and-half or cream for the non-dieters.
Salt to taste. Then whip up nicely
on high speed.
- If you've added too much milk and potatoes are a bit runny, no
problema! Add a little instant potato flake until they reach the consistency you
want. If you've oversalted, add more potato flakes and a little more warmed milk
until the error is corrected. Nobody will know.
- Mashed potatoes are best served hot, except to very small children
who are sure to blister their mouths or fingers in their enthusiasm. If the mash has
cooled down, put the bowl (not plastic or metal, please!) into the microwave for one
minute at a time until piping hot, stirring once in a while.
- A dust of
makes a nice garnish, as does a parsley sprig
or three or a pat of melting butter in the middle of the dish.
Don't toss leftovers. Microwave for another meal, or beat
in an egg or two, some finely chopped onion and a tablespoon or so of flour (self-rising
is best) for potato pancakes in the morning.