Thanksgiving Preparations and Perfect Mashed Potatoes

This morning, I began thumbing through my recipe books for my Thanksgiving feast ideas… and taking inventory of my Thanksgiving feast table and cooking stuff.

I have beautiful gold table runners, all kinds of large serving bowls, platters and serving utensils, gravy boats, special holiday flatware and S & P shakers, humungous pots & pans, a roasting pan…

And my Cutco Potato Masher.  The one from my childhood.  The one my Dad used to mash his mashed potatoes all those decades ago.  The one my husband Barry uses now.  The one my grandchildren are getting to know in such a special way.

I think of all the cooking treasures and things my Mom and Mom-in-law passed down to me, the Cutco Potato Masher rates up there as a favorite because it stirs my heart and my memories…

I honestly believe that the Cutco Potato Masher makes the best mashed potatoes in the world.  Maybe it really is the diamond-shaped “holes” that mash so perfectly.  Maybe it’s the shape or the “face” or the handle.

Ah, the handle. Held by my Dad’s strong hands, my Mom’s much, much younger hands, and now Barry’s hands as they create possibly the most treasured and sometimes illusive Thanksgiving dish (after the turkey, that is)… Perfect Mashed Potatoes.

As I began to sort through and wash all of my Thanksgiving stuff for another Thanksgiving feast, I knew that Perfect Mashed Potatoes are more than a wonderful recipe… but tradition, importance and love all whipped up like perfect fluffy clouds.

It’s also the Potato Masher and who used it before.

So… before I pass along our family recipe for Perfect Mashed Potatoes, I’m gonna suggest heading to your Grandmother’s or Mom’s or Dad’s or in-laws’ home to claim the Family Potato Masher.  If you don’t find one, make this year the year you claim your Potato Masher stake… the one you’ll use for your ever and pass along with your heart and your memories into each Thanksgiving to come.  Grab one at your nearest or favorite department store, second-hand store or on-line store.  Then cherish it.

It will make all the difference in preparation, in presentation and in taste.  Trust me.

Here’s Barry’s recipe for Perfect Mashed Potatoes:  (As you’ll see, Barry uses no specific measurements. He senses his Mashed Potatoes.  *But to make your Mashed Potato Life easier, I’ve included approximate measurements serving 8)

Large stock pot
Good vegetable peeler (comfortable grip)
Excellent paring knife
Cutting board

Russet and Yukon Gold Potatoes (Barry swears by their smoother texture)
Homemade or store-bought Chicken Stock (Barry’s mother’s secret!)
Heavy cream – heated to warm, not boiled
Whole Milk – heated to warm also
Smidgen of Sour Cream (another family secret)
Butter (not margarine!) – room temperature
Salt or Sea Salt
Fresh-ground Black Pepper
optional: chives, parsley, bacon bits or any interesting topping (we chop up these things and serve on the side)

Wash potatoes.  Peel potatoes and rinse.  Cut small enough to ensure potatoes will cook thoroughly. Boil in salted 3/4 water and 1/4 Chicken Stock (test done-ness by sticking knife in center of cube – anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes).  Drain and return boiled potatoes to pot over low heat to allow all water to absorb (few minutes – watch carefully).

Remove from heat.  (Barry mashes in the stock pot, just as his Mom did.)  Add heavy cream, milk, sour cream, butter to desired consistency.  Do not over-mash.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Barry prefers that Mashed Potatoes be served immediately.  If that’s not possible, scoop the Mashed Potatoes into a warm crock pot until dinner is served.

(*Serving 8:  3 lbs. potatoes, 8 tbsp. Heavy Cream, 2 tbsp. Milk, 1/4 cup Sour Cream, 1/2 cup Butter.  Adjust proportionately for more or less servings.)


Barry’s Perfect Mashed Potatoes are always the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving feast.  They are that good.

Well, they are that good because of one more little item…

Barry’s Perfect Turkey Gravy.

Stay tuned for that famous recipe… if he’s willing to share!


Thanksgiving Preparations and Perfect Mashed Potatoes was last modified: November 9th, 2011 by Sharon Couto
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Thanksgiving Preparations and Perfect Mashed Potatoes was last modified: November 9th, 2011 by Sharon Couto