Let me say, first of all, that I owe my entire blogging career to Laura. In more ways than one. She created this blog for me one day, because she was avoiding her own work and she likes to encourage creativity in others. Plus, as an added bonus, she is a doofus in the kitchen. (But what I really like about her is that she TRIES. She really does. And under my tutelage, she is improving. Somewhat.)
So today she called and mentioned that she was going to the mall to look for a new computer. I needed to re-supply my teenage daughter in the unmentionables department, so I immediately insinuated myself into her plan.
We got to the mall, and I dropped her off at the Mac store and went happily off in search of undergarments. Later, as we passed the Williams-Sonoma store, a picture of a potato ricer caught my eye.
"Hey", I said to her, "I like that potato ricer better than mine; it has holes in the side, so you get less resistance when you press the potatoes."
"What do you us the potatoes for? Hash Browns?" she asked.
"No, you dork, you make mashed potatoes out of them", I replied. Now, mind you, I didn't really expect Laura to be familiar with potato ricing. It is a little known way of making mashed potatoes. So, I was simply doing my best to educate her. But of course I had to throw in the "dork" comment. Just to make sure she knew I still loved and respected her. But then, she said something that made me stop dead in my tracks and slap my forehead with my hand.
"Why do you need that? You just use a blender."
Now Laura will dispute that she said blender and I will allow that what she meant was mixer. But still, even saying mixer would cause me heart palpitations. Let's just get this straight right now, and anyone who disagrees with me on this is just plain STUPID: YOU CANNOT MAKE MASHED POTATOES WITH ANY TYPE OF ELECTRIC APPLIANCE!!!!!
Let me begin this tirade by saying that I have made mashed potatoes with a mixer, but not for at least twenty years! I was young and foolish and uneducated. I grew up with a mother who didn't really like to serve starches, as she was of the opinion that they made you fat. So typically we only had mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. And after I was married, I didn't have a mixer so I used the potato masher that my husband had bought at the Goodwill store. (When I met him, that is where he got all of his kitchen accessories. And his wardrobe. But I reformed him.) I still have said potato masher. Well after a couple of years Steve bought me a hand mixer for Christmas one year. I was so happy. No more hand mixing cookies with a wooden spoon. No more beating egg whites with a whisk and a copper bowl. (Okay that is the way you're SUPPOSED to do it, but what a pain.) I stated making my potatoes with the mixer. And I turned them into gelatinous, glutinous, gloppy messes. Never use a mixer, okay? Just don't do it. Here are the three acceptable ways to make mashed potatoes: put them through a ricer, or a food mill, or mash them by hand.
Putting your potatoes through a ricer ensures fluffy, creamy, smoooth potatoes. Mashing by hand gives you a little lumpier, but still tasty product and a food mill will give you good sturdy, but not really fluffy potatoes. Hence, my love of my ricer. It is so not hard. You can do it! Yes you can!
Boil some potatoes until tender, but leave the skins on so that they don't become water-logged. (I will let you peel them first if you must, but at least try it my way once, okay? Would I steer you wrong? No, I wouldn't) Peel them with a paring knife and put through the ricer. Put them back in the pan and add melted or really soft butter. I don't know how much, use your judgement. Then add copious amount of cream or whole milk and stir. That's it. And don't let me hear your whining about how you use margarine or low-fat milk because it's cheaper or better for you. Really, I don't care. Go ahead, your mashed potatoes just won't be as good as mine, so why not aspire to greatness? It's not as hard as you think.