43. Childhood “Loaded”Mashed Potatoes

As a kid, I was fascinated by state-changed foods. I thought that pancake batter puffing into soft, thick cakes was magical; liquid to solid was pretty common. More strange still was solid to liquid, when my mother and I would make mashed potatoes. I couldn’t imagine how those hard, brown lumps turned into the fluffy cloud-like mashed potatoes I loved.

When I was 10 or 11, my parents instituted a rule when I had to cook a meal every week during the summer – it was both to teach me, keep me busy, and help my mom a little. One of my first variations on my mom’s normal recipes was my idea for “loaded” mashed potatoes: namely, normal mashed potatoes full of onions, bacon, and cheese. I clearly have been a girl who loves rich food for a long time.

So, Husband and I were making salmon with potatoes as a side the other evening, when I realized I wanted mashed potatoes – salmon with a little mashed potato on the side was just EVERYTHING for a moment there. So, I boiled a bunch of sliced fingerling potatoes, fried bacon with shallots, and poured it all into my newly-acquired stand mixer. At first I was worried that leaving skins on the potatoes was going to ruin the look, but when I threw a bit of cheddar and a pat of butter in with them, the potatoes whipped up wonderfully. They were thick and had chunks in them, which isn’t nearly like the bright white potato-flake mashed potatoes of my thanksgiving memories, but they felt hearty and flavorful anyway.

It’s this kind of memories that are coming back when I cook more – sure, I love me a pile of take-out chinese food (hello crab rangoons) but it doesn’t hold as many home memories as getting in the kitchen and putting something together. My family only ate out as a treat when I was growing up, probably for money reasons, and while my young adulthood has been filled with eating in restaurants, I am really reconnecting to the way time in the kitchen calms me, employs the problem-solving parts of my brain, and saves me money.

No formal recipe for loaded mashed potatoes; I just recommend boiling the cut potatoes at least 20 minutes, and add proportions of “baked potato ingredients” to your mixer as you feel led.

What recipe have you re-discovered lately? Do you remember specific kitchen moments when you encounter a familiar ingredient or craving? Feel free to comment and tell me about it. 🙂

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So important to boil them long enough… then you get to go wild.

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6 comments on “43. Childhood “Loaded”Mashed Potatoes

  1. Potatoes of any kind are my ultimate comfort food. Can you tell I’m of Irish heritage?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jr cline says:

    There are foods that bring bake fond childhood memories: pound cake, fruit cake, and pimento cheese. There are probably others. I don’t cook any of them though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cynthiahm says:

    I just tried a really great vegan recipe that is a mock chicken noodle soup with chick peas instead of chicken. It reminded me of the chicken noodle soup I used to eat when I was a child. Same flavour. Transformation of food is what makes cooking fun! And the eating too of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patrick says:

    Leaving the skins on the potato will change the look: it makes the potatoes look awesome! Mashed, french fries, or just throwing them on he grill, skins enhance the look and the flavor. If memory serves, the skins improve the nutritional value, also. Besides, a little bit of scrubbing beats a whole lot of peeling any day!

    Like

  5. rreimund says:

    Garlic mashed potatoes are my holiday go to. Yukon gold potatoes, 5 pounds, unpeeled. Cooked to tender in salted water. While potatoes are cooking, I saute a head of garlic, peeled and chopped, in a 1/2 c butter. Once potatoes are done, I drain them and add to my stand mixer. I mash the potatoes and then add the butter/garlic mixture. I finish them off by adding enough chicken or vegetable broth to make them smooth. I make this mixture the day before a holiday. To keep them for the next day, I place them in a crockpot with a liner. Before adding the potatoes, I add a little broth on the bottom. Then I add all the potatoes and refrigerate them. In the morning, I start them on low. I dot the top with pats of butter. By a mid afternoon dinner they are perfect. It keeps my kitchen clean and leaves room for other dishes in the oven and on the stove.

    Liked by 1 person

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