I’ve been cultivating my kitchen skills for the last few years but there’s one dish I’ve been considered the expert on for long before that: mashed potatoes.

In my world mashed potatoes are a culinary art. They deserve their own font, really, with sparkles and fireworks shooting off behind them. I guess this will have to do today since I’ve just now realized “font” isn’t actually an option on WordPress.

Mashed Potatoes!

I’ll just need you to imagine the angels singing in the background there.

True confession time. There were a number of years there where I ate mashed potatoes I made from – deep breath here – a box. I can’t explain it now. Except I was younger and fresh produce presented a number of problems. For one, it was more expensive than instant potatoes and required milk. Secondly, I had a bad habit of letting potatoes go bad and you just don’t know ick until you’ve dug a seepy grocery bag of rotten Russets out of the bottom of the pantry.

On a side note, those instant potatoes saved my life after jaw surgery, they really did. Anyhoo!

I decided long ago that the secret to a magical pot of mashed potatoes was the wholehearted acceptance that Mashed Potatoes Are Not A Healthy Food. They just aren’t. Even if you make them with [huge air quotes here] “healthy” ingredients like skim milk and margarine they’re still pretty starchy. But let’s face it, margarine and skim milk is a mashed potato crime and I’m not down with that.

Here are some truths one has to accept before achieving truly magnificent mashed potatoes.

  • Liquids matter. Embrace the concept of a combo. I usually end up using a mix of 2% milk with half and half. I’ve heard others use whole milk or heavy cream but I’m not trying to have a heart attack here, just enjoy a side of creamy deliciousness.
  • Embrace butter. Seriously, mashed potatoes without a healthy dose of butter – REAL butter – just won’t do. We’re talking throw a stick in there and taste to see if you’ve got enough.
  • Salt’s a must. You just have to accept that salt adds the balance to the cream and butter.

I hear potatoes actually have complex carbs and deliver some sort of nutrient boost, and that might be my argument for them if not for those three points above. Since heavenly mashed potatoes are a priority in our house I’ll have to shoot for all things in moderation instead.

Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “mash.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!