Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

The best mashed potatoes are made in a mixer

Sure, it’s easy to throw cooked potatoes, milk, butter, etc. into your stand mixer and whip them up. In fact, some people ever refer to whipped potatoes! But this is actually the worst way to do it. You see, potatoes contain tiny starch granules, and if they stay intact they do no harm. But if they are burst by the mechanical action of a mixer, they make the potatoes gummy. Mashed spuds should be fluffy, and gummy is yucky! So, what to do? Fortunately you have several options.

The hand masher is the old stand-by, preferably the kind that has a plate with holes rather than a serpentine wire. The result with this will not be perfectly smooth but that’s OK with a lot of people, myself included.

A ricer works really well. This is essentially a huge garlic press with a piston that forces the potato thru a perforated plate. A food mill does much the same thing, using a rotating blade in place of a piston. They both have uses other than making mashed potatoes.

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