Mashed Potatoes

10.10.2006 | 6:26 pm

Something’s changed. It’s the same something that changes every year around this time. And that something is my motivation level. Sometime in late September, I stop thinking about how strong or fast or light or heavy I am, and start thinking about mashed potatoes.

Oh, how I love mashed potatoes.

I should be more specific: I love my mashed potatoes. Everybody loves my mashed potatoes. If there were a mashed potato contest, I’d enter it with confidence. And if I didn’t win, I’d feel robbed.

My kids love my mashed potatoes more than any other food in the world. They’d rather eat my mashed potatoes than dessert. And so would I, for that matter.

Friends and relations call early in the year to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner — even though they don’t care for me personally — because my mashed potatoes are so good.

Nobody puts gravy on my mashed potatoes. This is because people intuit that while other mashed potatoes need gravy, my mashed potatoes do not need such a crutch.

How to Make Great Mashed Potatoes
People always ask me, "Fatty, how do you make such incredible mashed potatoes?"

I do not tell them.

It’s not that there’s a secret. There’s not. And it’s not that these are difficult to make. They’re not.

It’s that if I tell people how bad these mashed potatoes are for them, they’ll never eat them again, and that would be a shame.

The thing is, though, most of you won’t ever be eating Thanksgiving with me anyway. So I don’t mind telling you about my mashed potatoes. And then you can make them, call them your own, and be famous within your own circle of friends for the best mashed potatoes in the world.

Start by peeling a 10lb bag of potatoes. Cut each potato into six or eight pieces. Put the potatoes into heavily salted water and boil until the potatoes reach "ready to mash" consistency.

No, I don’t know how long that is, and I can’t explain what that consistency is. If you can’t tell, perhaps you don’t have any business making my mashed potatoes.

Drain the water out. If someone else is making gravy, you can offer your water to them, because salty boiled potato water makes great gravy. Not, mind you, that you’ll need gravy.

It’s important you do this next part while the potatoes are very hot.

Toss in 2 sticks of butter. Do not use margarine, no matter what. Toss in a fistful of grated mozzarella cheese, and a much smaller fistful of grated Jack.

Now start mashing. Use a masher, not a mixmaster or other appliance. You don’t want these to be smooth and fluffy. (That’s what mashed potatoes from flakes are.) You want these to be recognizable as potatoes.

Continue until the potatoes are mashed and the butter and cheese are melted in.

Now, put in a big double wooden-spoonful of sour cream. And mash some more.


If you don’t weep with joy, you did it wrong.

PS: I wonder why I always gain weight during the Autumn?


  1. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 10.10.2006 | 6:39 pm

    You know, I think my wife makes better mashed potatos than these. Her mashed potatos have sourcream AND cream cheese in them. But, being the scientific type I’ll propose a head to head Mrs. Botched’s Vs. Fatty’s mashed potatos cook-off to and see if I can get her to make both kinds, and then I will eat both of them and declare a winner.
    P.S. Today is about 6 weeks after our baby was born. Those of you that have had kids know what that means.  I thought you’d want to know.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 10.10.2006 | 6:44 pm

    Yum – sound fab, simular to mine, which in my family are also raved about . Butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper, and last-but-not-least – Salad Supreme. I just wish I could enjoy more than a half of cup serving at a time. I think I’ll make your version tonight for daughter #2, to whom mashed potatoes should be eaten w/ every meal.

  3. Comment by barry1021 | 10.10.2006 | 6:45 pm

    Damn! I gained two pounds just reading the ingredients.
    A belated congrats Botched. Yes you will sleep again. Someday.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 10.10.2006 | 6:58 pm

    Elden, any way to put these mashed potatos in a water bottle and add a little water?  Sounds like the perfect energy food for Leadville next year.
    Botched, I’m glad you figured out it is 6-8 weeks not 68 weeks.  Congrats and welcome back.
    Rick S.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 10.10.2006 | 7:58 pm

    HI Fatty,  They sound yummy.  But I think mine are just as good, if not better.  The two sticks of butter is good, but in addition, add 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of sour cream and some salt and pepper. 
    Then, to really kick this up, throw in a couple of heads of peeled, roasted garlic, and to take it to higher levels, a couple of handfulls of grated parmesan cheese (the real deal, not the stuff from the green can)  To make these increase the nutritional value and to help you overcome the initial feeling of indulgent guilt, add a couple of handfulls of cleaned, chopped spinach or arugula while mashing the hot potatoes.  Delightful, simply delightful.  Oh, and it works just as well with using carmelized onions instead fo the roasted garlic and sharp cheddar intead of the parmesan.
    Oh man, I had given up mashed potatoes and see what you’ve done!  Man, I am starving

  6. Comment by Rocky | 10.10.2006 | 8:56 pm

    It’s the hibernating instinct.  I can’t eat enough during the early Autumn months, and I need frequent naps during the day.  One day I am afraid that I will doze off and wake up to freshly blossomed daisies and Spring weather.  I guess that would be a good thing. 
    As for now, I am dying for a tub of mashed potatos.  I shall pick up a bag on the way home, and eat them all before the kids get there.  Yum.
    By the way, the cheese is an exceptional add. 
    Botched–welcome back.

  7. Comment by sans auto | 10.10.2006 | 9:18 pm

      I’ll be honest, I’m dissapointed.  The first time I came to this site, it was because you are a cyclist (as am I) trying to lose weight (and I’m working on my PhD in Health Promotion).  I thought this site would be great insite into the masses of Americans trying to lose weight, but failing.  I wanted to learn from real people the struggles of diet and exercise.  As I frequented the website, I enjoyed the writing, so I kept coming back.  Now I’m a Junky and even though that recipe is against everything for which I stand, I was tempted to try it (I’ll have to wait until vegan month is over).  I now see the "stuff" you people use. I need to try to kick this habit.

  8. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 10.10.2006 | 9:33 pm

    botched – cream cheese? holy smokes, that’s a great idea. i’m going to try that next time.
    boz – i don’t even know what salad supreme is. probably shouldn’t find out. why can’t you eat more than half a cup at a time?
    b21 – i typically gain three pounds whenever i make these mashed potatoes. and it’s a three pounds that sticks, too.
    rick s – i think the water bottle idea is handled by the commenter right after you: add enough cream and you’ve got something that can be squeezed through a water bottle.
    non name – garlic i’ve done, and that’s good. carmelized onions, though? yum! i’m not ashamed to borrow great ideas, and onions go with everything, as far as i’m concerned. i’m doing that next time.
    rocky – i’m pretty sure i’m going to be in town for thanksgiving. i’ll bring my bike, we’ll each make mashed potatoes (and i’ll make my banana cream pies), we’ll go on a good ride the morning before, and then pig out until we hurt. sound good? you’re spot-on about the hibernating thing. i am currently looking for a nice cave to hole up in, and frequently find myself swatting salmon out of rivers.
    sans auto – i actually read about your foray into veganism today before i wrote my blog entry. sorry man, it wasn’t my intention to hit you while you’re weak.

  9. Comment by Rocky | 10.10.2006 | 9:39 pm

    Fatty–you are on for the Thanksgiving thing.  I was thinking more along the lines of eat-ride-EAT.  I think that we should have mashed potatoes for breakfast before we go out to ride.  Then, you make your banana cream pie and I will make my apple and let the bellyaches begin.  You might have to wake me, though, as the hibernating thing is ever more pressing.
    Yum.  Salmon.

  10. Comment by pete | 10.10.2006 | 10:48 pm

    Hmmm. Sounds pretty good, but I’d be willing to organise some sort of transatlantic mash off: pitting you against my girlfriend. Garlic is a natural addition, as are spring onions, but the real secret to making proper mash is adding a generous scoop (note FC style scientific measurements) of either mustard or horseradish to give it a bit of bite.MMMMMMMM!

  11. Comment by Unknown | 10.10.2006 | 11:04 pm

    Fatty – Salad Supreme is great – on mashed potatoes, fabulous, on tuna salad – sublime. Get it in the spice section, it’s by McCormick, contains romano cheese, garlic, celery seed, sesame seed, poppy seed ect.. You would love it if you tried it.
    I’m a type 2 diabetic, so high glycemic foods like mashed potatoes and rice don’t agree with me. But, botched might like this detail, Byetta ( synthetic gila monster spit ), along with time release insulin, allow me to enjoy some of this stuff in smaller portions. Who thinks up this stuff ? People like Botched, I guess.

  12. Comment by Unknown | 10.10.2006 | 11:05 pm

    That was me. Boz .

  13. Comment by Katie | 10.10.2006 | 11:42 pm

    That feeds how many people? 50??
    I can feel my arteries clogging from here.

  14. Comment by Unknown | 10.11.2006 | 12:07 am

    Last week you gave us these great plans for a teeter and today we learn how to make a tasty batch of taters. . .next thing we know you’ll be on PBS every Saturday morning.  It’ll be a "New Yankee Workshop" meets the "Fairway Gourmet" kind of a thing, but instead of poaching salmon on the 18th at Kiawah, you’ll be pounding potatoes on Hög Hollow.

  15. Comment by Chad and Charlotte | 10.11.2006 | 3:18 am

    The tater recipe sounds great! I gotta agree with two things as well. Hibernation and the addition of horseradish to the mix. All you need is some Thanksgiving turkey and you will be out until spring thaw!

  16. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 10.11.2006 | 8:52 am

    Botched – Congratulations on reaching the screaming-is-more-fun-than-sleeping phase of parenthood.  This tends to alternate between the child and adult and can last anything from 8 to 23 years.
    sans auto – perhaps on the basis of vegan month you can get an exemption on the margarine thing.
    And why is everybody fixated on varieties of cheese in their taters.  Ranch!  Ranch, I say.  Creamy, yet tangy.  You’re welcome.

  17. Comment by Rick | 10.11.2006 | 12:21 pm

    I think botched may be speaking of the 6-8 weeks of "no pokey while wifey is healing" time.  My guess is he’ll be burning off the calories from the taters in another fashion.

  18. Comment by Unknown | 10.11.2006 | 1:30 pm

    They sound yummy – I’ll try ‘em out one of these weeks.

    One question, though: what kind of potatoes do you use? I’m assuming Russets, as those are the dominant type in Utah and the west. But out east, the Russet is not quite as common, and I’d found that some spuds are better for mashing than others.

    So…. do tell!

    Also, other additions that work well: creme fraiche would be wonderful (I use it in my mashed potatoes, which get rave reviews from my fam and friends). Also clotted cream, if you can find that. And if you can find good, fresh farm butter, it adds an entirely different dimension to the works. A good European butter will work if you can’t find farm fresh – something like Plugra or Kerrygold.

  19. Comment by barry1021 | 10.11.2006 | 1:54 pm

    Just what is clotted cream anyway R-Duck, is it named for what it does to your bloodstream??

  20. Comment by Unknown | 10.11.2006 | 2:48 pm

    I always get stuck making mashed potatoes at holiday meals, not that I mind that much (or at all) – mashed potatoes are NOT hard to make. It started out back when I lived in CO. My extended family always had a Thanksgiving family reunion – usually 100 – 200 people attended. You learn to make mashed potatoes on a fairly large scale then! Last time I did it, we made 80 lbs of mashed potatoes with me and my brother doing half each.

    For potatoes, I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes. Out here in VA, most of the potatoes come from NY!?!?! There are potatoes that say "Idaho potatoes" on the packaging, but dang it, I lived in MT a stone’s throw from Idaho and I can tell you those are NOT Idaho potatoes. Yukon Golds are a very good choice here and don’t look like terrible like the russets here. Lately we’ve takne to growing our own.

    I was going to say for secret success, I use whipping cream, cream cheese, butter, and garlic, but all of those have already been mentioned. I guess the secret’s out!

    BTW, anyone but me seen the "Free Taters for Out of Staters" in ID? It’s near Ashton, ID on highway 20 as I recall.

  21. Comment by Rocky | 10.11.2006 | 4:08 pm

    Oh, the mashed potato-fest was outstanding.  The cheese is an exceptional addition to already exceptional potatoes.
    I am fatter for it, but hey, it’s hibernation season.

  22. Comment by mark | 10.11.2006 | 5:33 pm

    You should try boiling your potatoes whole. When you peel them before boiling, the water breaks down the starch in the potato. If you leave the skins on, the skin protects the starch and keeps it from breaking down. The end result is a much better tasting potato to add all those yummy, artery-clogging dairy products to. If you’re going to add milk at all, make sure and add butter first, or else you will negate the benefit of boiling whole, as milk breaks down starch just like water does.
    Takes a good hour to boil a whole potato, but the wait is well worth it. You can then drop them in a potato ricer, which will remove the skins for you, or you can pull the skins off by hand. Here in Idaho, we’re supposed to only eat Russets, but I’ve found Yukon Golds and Reds make excellent mashers.
    Botched, congratulations. As a father of two, I knew exactly what you were talking about.

  23. Comment by Lofgrans | 10.11.2006 | 5:33 pm

    I am a huge mashed potatoe fan and make them in many similar varieties. My version? I use red potatoes and leave the skin on. Very tasty. Using plain yogurt works as a low fat version of sour cream, really tastes pretty much the same. For Thanksgiving, go all out. Other times, use lower fat versions. Works for me.

  24. Comment by Unknown | 10.12.2006 | 1:13 am

    This is what eventually happens to all topic oriented successful blogs…they take on a life of their own and this is what we are left with. Mash Potatoes. I will check back in next riding season.

  25. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 10.12.2006 | 2:52 pm

    BotchedExperiment wrote:
    No Name, I totally agree. Fatty has hit an all time low with Mashed Potatos. Potatos from a man whose previous topics have been nothing but genteel and urbane: ball spalming, farting, urinating, and worst of all eating cold chicken and stars soup.
    I’m with you, I’ll check back when it’s riding season again. Of course, if your one of Fatty’s Aussie readers, it’s already riding season again, or if your in our hemisphere, it’s cyclocross season, but here in Utah, it’s ‘Mud Biking Season’ which is a sport closely related to, but very distinct from mountain biking.
    P.S. This might be the worst Fat Cyclist entry since his attempt to post "The Greatest Cake in the World" recipe. Talk about botching something, I think he had to post that recipe 6 times to get it right.

  26. Comment by Rocky | 10.12.2006 | 3:34 pm

    It’s my intention to mewl a bit about you lack of posts.  I have grown a bit attached to my daily dose of your flapdoodle, and I am now growing impatient for some more.  After all, I read about mashed potatoes, I made some, and I ate them.  I even ate them again, as my 10 lb. bag still occupies part of the fridge.
    I know you said that it’s the best time of year to ride.  But if your weather is anything like ours (mucho rain = mucho mud) then you likely aren’t riding much.  Botched ratted you out in declaring it "mud riding season."  Unless of course you are on the road.   Or you’ve killed yourself on the teeter.
    C’mon Fatty/Random Reviewer guys.  Get me some new material.

  27. Comment by Tyler | 10.12.2006 | 10:16 pm

    NOW I understand why I will always remain a skinny bastard.
    This sounds frightening.  I, you see, don’t even particularly LIKE mashed potatoes.  I actively DISLIKE sour cream, or basically anything except cheese with melted dairy products in it.
    I’ve just gotten back from a 4-hour ride, and since my coach has told me I MUST gain 5 pounds (up to 143) so that I do not become 2-dimensional over the winter, I’m currently eating a large bowl of soy-ice-cream-type-stuff that I have added pseudo-Oreos and chocolate syrup to.  Tonight I will eat a lot of pesto pizza.  And probably some pasta.
    Any time I eat like this, I feel like crap the next day, but seem to just ride harder the following day, and promptly re-lose the half a pound I’ve gained. 
    Well, so it goes.


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