Mashed potatoes….they’re one of America’s best loved foods. The recipe is simple and requires only a few ingredients. Right? What cook does not know how to make mashed potatoes? That being said, then why did it take me so long to get the recipe right? Let’s see, you peel the potatoes and put time in salted water to boil until tender. Then you drain the potatoes, break them up, add milk and butter and whip them until all lumps are gone and the potaoes are light and fluffy. Isn’t that the recipe? How can you go wrong?
Soon after Kermit and I were married, as a new cook, I decided to prepare a great dinner for my sweetheart including one of his favorite foods…..mashed potatoes. I was so excited to serve the dinner. I wanted to impress Kerm with my cooking abilities. He was so sweet and wanted me to know he was happy that I had worked so hard to make a great meal, but I could tell he was disappointed with the mashed potatoes. He has never been good at masking his thoughts. “Honey, don’t you like the mashed potatoes?” I asked. His response was; “They’re just not fluffy like Mom’s. Taste them…they’re just not fluffy.”
I honestly did not understand what he was talking about. I tasted them again and again but could not figure out what he meant. These were the kind of potatoes I had always eaten. I thought they were fluffy….they didn’t have lumps and they were beaten really well.
So, I asked his Mom how she made her fluffy mashed potatoes. She told me to peel the potatoes and put them in salted water to boil until tender. Then drain them, break them up, add HOT milk and butter and whip until there are no lumps and the potatoes are fluffy.
Ah ha! She said she adds HOT milk. Maybe that’s the secret. So the next time I made mashed potatoes, I added HOT milk to the potatoes. I watched as Kermit lifted the fork to his mouth loaded with what I hoped were FLUFFY mashed potatoes. But the disappointed look on his face said it all…..”They’re just not fluffy like Mom’s.” What is going on, I thought. I made them exactly the way his Mom told me to do. How can that be?
After that I tried cooking the potatoes a bit longer….a bit shorter….I whipped them longer. I bought a ricer. I tried every way I could figure out to make fluffy mashed potatoes. But every time the response was the same…..”They’re just not fluffy like Mom’s.”
Then one day it occurred to me….maybe I’m not using the right kind of potatoes. So, again I asked Kerm’s Mom what kind of potatoes she used. She said she always used Russet potatoes. OK, I thought, I’ll make sure I always use Russet potatoes.
Back in the kitchen, I used Russet potatoes. I cooked them until tender in salted water. I drained them, added HOT milk and warm butter. I whipped them until there were no lumps. Now, the real test. I was confident as I served them to Kermit. “I’ve finally discovered the secret,” I assured myself. As Kermit lifted his fork to taste the potatoes, I could hardly wait to see his face. “I’ve done it, I’ve done it, I’ve finally found the secret,” I thought. But when he tasted them, he looked at me and said; “I’m sorry, Honey…they just aren’t fluffy like Mom’s.”
What is going on? I wondered if he didn’t just have a fixation on his Mom’s cooking. She really was a great cook. But even she did not know the secret to her fluffy mashed potatoes. And I was frustrated because I still did not understand what Kermit was talking about when he wanted fluffy mashed potatoes.
Years earlier when I got my first Sunbeam MixMaster, I had noticed a recipe for mashed potatoes in the cookbook that came with the mixer. I had never read it because I believed I knew how to make mashed potatoes and certainly did not need to read the recipe for something so elementary. Then one day, just for the ‘heck’ of it I read the recipe. Sometimes my ego can be such a ‘brat’ because as I began reading, my ego was saying; “Yes, yes, yes, that’s nothing new….I know that. This is rediculous reading this recipe, I already know all this stuff.” Then I read the secret. Something I had never heard before. Wow!
Now it was time to try again. I said nothing to Kermit, but prepared the potatoes as the recipe directed. I still wasn’t certain I had found the secret, but I was anxious to see Kermit’s face as he tasted the mashed potatoes. As he tasted the potatoes, he smiled and then he said it…….”Now, that’s fluffy mashed potatoes.” I was surprised when I tasted them. I finally knew what he meant by fluffy mashed potatoes. I could finally taste the difference.
Since then I have been known for my fluffy mashed potatoes. What was Kerm’s Mom doing without realizing it, that made the difference? If you really want to know the secret to fluffy mashed potatoe, leave your name and email address in the comment space below. I will send you an email with the secret. My reply will come from the email address……firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now, Earlynn’s just sayin’; “There’s nothing better than fluffy mashed potatoes.”