In Praise of Mashed Potatoes

In Praise of Mashed Potatoes

Chefs & Experts

In Praise of Mashed Potatoes

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Comfort foods. Just saying the phrase gives me a bit of comfort. For most folks, I think, the term applies to the foods one grew up with, the dishes mom served up on a regular basis. Foods that go down easy, and are warm and satisfying.

I’d have to say my all-time favorite comfort food is mashed potatoes and gravy. We enjoyed some for dinner at my house a couple nights ago and, between mouthfuls, my wife and I couldn’t stop commenting on how fabulous it was. We couldn’t stop eating the stuff either.

We made it from four pretty good-sized potatoes, figuring we’d have some for leftovers later. Nope. We ate it all, finishing up the last few bites right out of the “leftovers container” as we did the dishes. Now, we’d never dream of eating two baked potatoes each, but whipped together into a steaming pot of fluffy mash? No problem.

The thing is, we hadn’t had mashed taters in quite a while. We had even decided not to serve them at Thanksgiving this year, feeling that the stuffing would be quite enough starch for everyone. We hadn’t realized how much we missed them until the other night. Since that night we’ve been talking frequently about when we’re going to have them again. It’s starting to border on an obsession. Not that I plan to recreate Devil’s Tower with them like Richard Dreyfuss in ‘Close Encounters’ or anything, but…

I like a little garlic in my mashers, the wife doesn’t. She likes it topped with butter (or rather, Smart Balance spread). I gotta have gravy with mine. So I throw in a bit of garlic salt on my portion, ladle on the gravy, add some chopped chives and a little fresh ground pepper.

We do skin-on only if we’re using organic potatoes. These were not, so we peeled ’em. We use an old-fashioned hand masher. No electric mixer for us. We’re old school, I guess. For the gravy, we simply use Campbell’s Lower-Sodium Cream of Chicken Soup and a few other ingredients.

Man, they just make me feel good all over.

Exquisitely prepared culinary masterpieces are wonderful, but sometimes the simplest, most basic foods are what really provide aid and comfort to the soul.

Thanks for reading, – BB

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