“You like potato and I like potahto; you like tomato and I like tomahto. Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto – let’s call the whole thing off!”
Well, let’s NOT call off Thanksgiving, but I’ve always liked these lyrics, even if this song was written waaaaayyyyy before my time! For those of you who have absolutely no clue what I talking about, the quoted line is from the song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” written by George and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film “Shall We Dance.” I know, a silly little bit of trivia, but I’m sure I liked this song as a child because of it’s funny rhyming lyrics and its catchy, bouncy tune.
Anyway, back to potatoes. We didn’t have potatoes often growing up. Both of my parents have told us that it’s because they grew up having potatoes EVERY SINGLE NIGHT of their entire childhood, so they didn’t like potatoes. So, they made us rice EVERY SINGLE NIGHT of our entire childhood (you think I’m kidding? Ask my siblings!) and potatoes were a rare treat. Amazingly, I still like rice, too, but I don’t eat it often either.
So, back to potatoes. Consequently, as a result of being deprived to the marvelous potato throughout my childhood, when I make mashed potatoes, I go all out with butter and half-and-half. Neither of these ingredients is really necessary to make delicious mashed potatoes, but if I’m going to make them, then it’s a treat and I’m going to make them to the best of my ability and enjoy every decadent bite!
Here’s what you do:
- Scrub and peel 5 pounds of russet potatoes.
- Set up your work area. I’ve got my cleaned and peeled potatoes in a bowl of water (so they don’t turn brown). To the right is my pot full of salted water. I’m using my pasta strainer insert so that I can easily drain the potatoes.
- Dice the potatoes into chunks. These are about a half inch in size.
- Put the diced potatoes in a pot of cold salted water, covering them with water. Bring to a boil and boil until fork tender (about 10 to 15 minutes).
- Don’t overcook the potatoes or they will be mush! Drain the potatoes and return them to your pot (minus the strainer if you used a strainer insert like me).
- Add one stick (1/2 cup) of butter to the diced, cooked, drained potatoes and allow to melt for a minute.
- Start mashing the potatoes with a potato masher, incorporating the melted butter. This potato masher is from Princess House. I like it because it has a super long handle, which makes it an ideal tool for pots!
- Add 1 cup of half-and-half to the potatoes a little at a time, mashing between additions.
- Keep mashing until you are satisfied with the consistency. There will be lumps – I promise! Part of the deliciousness of the potatoes are the lumps!
- Put the mashed potatoes in a serving bowl, making a little well at the top. Add more butter and let it melt down the sides!
Here’s the recipe:
- 5 pounds of russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and diced into ½” chunks
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter plus additional butter for the finished potatoes
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Salt (to add to boiling water)
- Scrub, peel and dice the potatoes into ½” chunks.
- Place potatoes in a large pot (with a strainer insert, if available) and add about 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Continue boiling about 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender (do not overcook or the potatoes will be mush).
- Drain potatoes and put back into pot (without the strainer insert).
- Add butter and allow to melt for a few minutes.
- Mash potatoes with butter using a potato masher.
- Add half-and-half a little at a time and continue mashing.
- Mash until you are satisfied with the consistency; they will be lumpy.
- Scoop into bowl, making a well at the top.
- Add more butter and allow to melt down the sides.