The Magic of Mashed Potatoes

What is something as mundane as mashed potatoes doing in a blog about creativity? It can’t be about how interesting or easy they are to paint or draw. But I am here to tell you that the ordinary, if it’s not ordinary for you, can very well be creative.


No matter which one of us cooks dinner, it’s usually a one-dish meal. Rice or noodles topped with vegetables. Soup. Giant salads. Stir-fry. Make-our-own pizzas. Tacos. Pasta with anything you can imagine.

So I can’t explain why, at Trader Joe’s on Friday, I remembered the dish called “mashed potatoes.” My mother served them with roast beef and green beans almondine for company during my growing-up years. I know they are still around. Lately I see restaurants are calling them “garlic mashed potatoes.”

I put a small bag of Yukon Golds in my basket, not even sure if they are the mashing kind, and thought someday soon I’ll surprise him with this blast from the past.

We were to go out the next day, because that’s what people do on Valentine’s Day. But we canceled our reservations due to one of my chronic problems, for which I need to see a doctor.

I offered to cook. He offered to get carry-out. Both of us being on our best behavior for the holiday, I promised something “a little special,” and he agreed to whatever I wanted to do.

As if a genie had appeared to grant him his greatest electronic wish, he welcomed his dinner plate with open mouth and dropped jaw. “Mmm. Mashed potatoes,” he repeated with every bite. His seconds were as big as his firsts, and for breakfast he ate the rest.

Here’s how I created this magical moment, written recipe-style.

Scrub one giant and two little Yukon Gold potatoes. Do not peel. Cut them into pieces about one-fourth the size of the small potatoes.


One giant and two little Yukon Gold potatoes

Put the potato pieces into a pot of boiling water. Boil the potatoes until a skewer pierces through them with no resistance, but no longer than that.

While the potatoes are boiling, melt part of a stick of Earth Balance soy butter in a small saucepan on low. (If you eat dairy, you may use butter made from a cow’s milk). FullSizeRender

Cut the butter stick about here. 

Add one clove garlic or more, minced, to the melting butter. It modernizes your dish. Pour about 1/2 cup of soy creamer into the melted butter, and keep the heat on low. (Again, you may substitute with dairy cream.) Image-1

Hand masher

Drain the cooked potatoes, and transfer them to a bowl big enough to hold them. Mash them by hand, adding the warmed garlicky butter-cream mixture in thirds or fourths — just not all at once — and a little salt.


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