Mashed ‘Taters

I got distracted by a news story about a seven-foot dog, but I’m back again just for a bit tonight. I need to say a word about mashed potatoes.

For years, I never made mashed potatoes because Mark is a rice guy and I didn’t want him eating something that he privately thought was just not good. The first rule of Southern cooking is to please your company, even if your company sleeps with you every night. But one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I love mashed potatoes and they’re really easy to make. First off, forget the stuff in the boxes. No, no, no. Second, forget the stuff that’s pre-made in the refrigerated part of the Publix (as much as I love the Publix, this Bob Evans stuff is just wrong). If you’re not from the South and you don’t know who Bob Evans is, well, look it up on the Internet. Third off, don’t read recipes that make you heat up milk and rice your potatoes and all that silly stuff.

Here you go. DSCN0485You start with thin-skinned potatoes. Yukon gold, red, whatever. The waxy ones. If you don’t know what a waxy potato is, look that up, too. Use enough potatoes to feed however many are at the table. Just eye-ball that. Cut them up in equal-sized pieces, more or less, and boil them until you can see the skins peel back from the flesh. Yes, leave the skins on. They add texture and they’re good for you (about the only thing that’s good for you in this recipe). After the potatoes are done, drain them and put them back in the pot (did I need to tell you to use a pot?). Keep the heat on for about 30 seconds to dry them out. Turn off the heat and add a lot of butter. Half a stick is not too much. Get your potato masher (you have to have that) and mash the bejeebers out of them. Then add enough milk to make them creamy. You don’t need to heat it up, for goodness sake. Mash some more. After the milk, add some salt and pepper. Taste them.

DSCN0487Cover the pot and get everything else you need to get done for supper. At the end, add a little more butter to the potato pot and let it melt. Nice effect, don’t you think? Tonight, Mark came out of the den after supper (sometimes he eats in there when he’s had a long day and just wants to watch old war movies and zone out) and said, “I don’t know why you didn’t make mashed potatoes all those years. That’s maybe the best thing you make.” I just love that boy.

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