Whether you like your mashed potatoes lumpy, smooth, creamy or cheesy, you like them — and odds are you like them a lot! So do we, and that’s why we did a deep dive into the lumpy past of mashed potatoes to find out why they’ve become an American food staple. Check out what we learned, plus some tips and tricks for tastier taters from our in-house culinary experts!
Originally found in Peru, the humble potato has been enjoyed in some form for centuries. But—believe it or not—once the potato made its way to Europe in the early 1500s, it was considered a lowly peasant food that might even cause leprosy! This misconception led to a ban on potatoes in France, where they were thought of as nothing more than animal feed.
It wasn’t until 1771, when a French pharmacist named Antoine Parmentier became the champion of the potato, did Europe start to come around to the idea of eating the brown, underground-growing tuber. Parmentier began experimenting with ways to enjoy potatoes in the army, and stumbled upon various ways to make them more appealing—like peeling, boiling and mashing them until they became the mashed marvels we know and love today.
Tricks of the Tuber Trade
We asked our Corporate Director of Culinary Excellence, John Beardsley and Research and Development Chef, Emily Newmark for their tips and tricks for the best mashed potatoes. Here’s what they said:
No Dud Spuds
One of the most common mashed potato mistakes people make is choosing the wrong variety. Want a fluffy mash? Choose a russet potato. Need something a little creamier? Go with Yukon Golds or red potatoes.
Bigger is Better
Be sure not to cut your potatoes too small. Smaller pieces absorb water too quickly and create runny mashed potatoes.
When you’re halfway done boiling your potatoes, drain them and place them in the oven to cook them the rest of the way for a smooth, creamy mash.
A Little Watery Is Okay
When you’re done mashing, it’s okay if your potatoes are a little watery. That excess moisture will be absorbed into your potatoes and reduce the risk of a dry, flaky mash.
The More Butter the Better
Test out one — or more — of these tips and tricks with our favorite mashed potato recipes!
Most Potatoes Eaten: 2.47 lbs.
Heaviest Potato: 8.82 lbs.
Largest Serving of Mashed Potatoes: 2,641 lbs.
Largest Display of Potato Varieties: 667 varieties
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