After the divorce, my parents worked really hard to keep our lives as normal as possible. My mom, for instance, still makes a completely homemade dinner every night that one of us is home. However, one day in the late 90’s, she took some bad advice from a friend and tried to pass boxed mashed potatoes off as real mashed potatoes.
Now, before you write me off as a potato elitist, hear me out. My parents, each of them, make fantastic mashed potatoes. They’re creamy, fluffy, and melt in your mouth delicious. The reason that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday is completely wrapped up in that one dish… mmmmm mmmm potatoey goodness.
Boxed mashed potatoes are okay. In a bind, I can see where they are useful. But after years and years of for no reason weeknight scratch mashed potatoes, those boxed potatoes didn’t get one bite past my brothers and I. And, in good fun, we haven’t let my mother live it down yet. That and the time she tried to pass ostrich burgers off as turkey burgers… we know better.
Mashed potatoes can be made with cream, sour cream, milk, butter, eggs, cheese, etc. Really, the creamy mixer of your choice. Personally, I was brought up mixing mayonnaise and butter into my potatoes. Now, if you recoiled at the word mayonnaise, well, you’re definitely not southern. My father, before his doctor started in on him about his cholesterol and high blood pressure, would eat mayonnaise with a spoon. It’s an integral ingredient in so many dishes, from tomato sandwiches to cole slaw.
Personally, I don’t like my potatoes chunky, which is why I use a mixer. You have to be careful with the mixer though, because potatoes can become gummy if they’re over-mixed. An alternative is a potato masher, which blends, but doesn’t eliminate the bigger pieces. If that’s what you’re into. No matter what the texture, these potatoes are the essence of what my college cafeteria called “comfort food.”
2 white potatoes
3/4 cup mayonnaise (plus more to taste)
3/4 stick butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Peel, rinse, and slice your potatoes into large chunks. Submerge potato slices into water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until chunks are soft. Strain, and dump into a large mixing bowl. Slice a half stick of butter into 1/4 inch chunks and mix into the potatoes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the butter is melted, it’s time to bring in the mixer. Mix until the potatoes are semi-smooth, with medium size chunks. Now it’s time to mix in the mayo. Now, I can’t tell you how to flavor your potatoes, so I recommend mixing the mayonnaise in a quarter cup at a time. This is also the time to mix in the rest of the butter and salt and pepper. Turn the mixer back on and blend until totally smooth. After this, all of your mixing/incorporating should be done with the wooden smooth, so your potatoes don’t get too gummy. Add mayonnaise and seasoning to taste, and serve.
Makes 3 to 6 servings.