Perfect mashed potatoes

_____________________________________________ Thanksgiving 2009. 

My immediate family’s back in Minnesota and I have in recent years found this holiday a perfect time to stay home and write.

Tonight I made a Thanksgiving meal for myself including roast, squash, asparagus, and mashed potatoes. If anything of this traditional meal required a recipe, that would be the mashed potatoes, yet I wrote down naught. I’ve redeemed, per years of being thrown in charge of mashed potatoes when I didcelebrate with the large family, that adding too much milk or cream pended more disappointment than adding too much butter. And, after years, I also learned patience; I could always add more milk or cream, if need be, while whipping the potatoes with the electric mixer.

Over my years away from the family, I learned that potatoes needn’t be peeled before mashing, just cleaned well. And I learned you could add garlic.

The latter I’d learned via an over-garlic episode. I’d accepted an invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner for those disconnected from their immediate families. The couple who hosted it were wonderful, and artsy. We guests brought the side dishes; they provided the turkey plus they opted to serve garlic mashed potatoes. I was there when they kept adding garlic under the electric mixer.

And their potatoes tasted yummy, to me a garlic-lover, that night. Crazily, over the next several days I kept tasting the garlic, and each time I remembered the couple and their mixer. I asked a friend who had also attended the party, and yes he tasted garlic, for several days.

So by trial and by the errors of me and others, I learned how to craft the perfect mashed potatoes.
A) Fill a mixing bowl with boiled, unpeeled potatoes;
B) add a hearty chunk of butter, and a splash of milk or cream
C) add a small clove of garlic, a large clove for an extra large mixing bowl.

Instructions: Apply the electric mixer and gauge the texture as the potatoes are mashed. Opt for a consistency that forms sturdy hills above the churning. Need a little more airiness? Add a little more milk, yet no more garlic.

When the texture seems just right, add nothing else but continue to whip those babies like exuberant music, to decimate any possible lumps. Then voila! Serve a scoop and they should hit the plate like a heavy, rising dollop. Behold, the perfect mashed potatoes.

Leave a Reply