Friday, November 27, 2009

Jack's Spuds

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, gratitude for the good things in life such as good health, firm friends, happy families, nature's bounty, natural beauty.

And mashed potatoes.

When we invited friends Janie, Jodie and Jack for Thanksgiving, Jack insisted on making his world-famous mashed potatoes (Jack is not given to modesty), and I readily assented - I have eaten his spuds before and they are memorable.

He starts with Yukon gold potatoes; they live up to their name. Waxy and softly yellow, they don't even need peeling and they cook quickly. Jack came armed with his own special masher (don't tell him, but it's just like any other) and, once the potatoes were tender, he poured off most of the water, set the pot back onto the warm burner (with the heat turned off) and went to work.

I can't tell you the exact recipe - I'm not even sure there is one - but copious lashings of real butter, half and half, salt, pepper, fresh minced parsley, dried basil and drama went in as he stirred and mashed, mashed and stirred. I don't want to say he made a big production of it but, well, he made a big production of it - lots of theater and body English went into these spuds.

The finished dish was pure potato heaven - spooned into a warmed serving dish, they were rich and bumpy with skins and lumps, buttery and savory and ohmyheavenstobetsy the temptation to take 'way too large a serving was downright irresistible.

This year, I have much to be grateful for and Jack's mashed potatoes are pretty high up on the list.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Kailyn said...

No. While I enjoy mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving is about yams. Roasted yams. Candied yams. Sweet potato soufflé -- that's actually made with yams. There have never been mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. Just yams, dressing and mac and cheese for carbs.

Friday, November 27, 2009  
Blogger kudzu said...

Any leftovers? I love to make potato soup. Take the mashed potatoes and use enough milk (or half and half, or -- best -- cream) and stir it into the potatoes until they're the ideal consistency. Heat and serve. One of the only leftover "recipes" I approve.

Friday, November 27, 2009  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

Mashed Potooties are so good.

Did you read the article about Catahoula's in CC times? Good stuff.

Friday, November 27, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Potatoes are the second reason for Thanksgiving, coming only after gravy. I had both yesterday.
And again today.

Friday, November 27, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Potatoes are my favourite fruit of all the fruits ;)

Friday, November 27, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, I can tell your people are from the South originally. Mac and cheese is a big item at TG in the South.

Kudzu, wow, that's an interesting idea. I usually just reheat my leftovers and slather them with butter.

Chilebrown, no, I missed the article - will go look it up online. We should meet there for coffee one of these days.

Cookiecrumb, I like turkey but for me TG is really more about the side dishes. The best one I made this year was wild rice with onions, garlic, mushrooms. No gravy, however.

Morgan, me, too. I guess it's my Irish heritage.

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

I just put your fruitcake in the oven.

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

I have always kind of wondered whether the inclusion or exclusion of spuds was a regional thing. And then I remembered something else. TG usually means both turkey and ham. While mashed potatoes work with turkey, they are not necessarily the best side for ham.

Also made think about Italian-American friends for whom a holiday meal is not complete without lasagna and cannoli.

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I will share my gravy secret if you are going to use your rotisserie for the bird: Roast some backs and necks (Whole Foods), and you're good to go. We got a very nice brown gravy, very tasty.
Wild rice! Very nice! Envy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Rev. Biggles said...

I love mashed taters. I was the kid tha forewent the pumpkin/apple pie for more taters and gravy. I remember in elementary school I spent the entire lunch break going back for 5ths on gravy and taters on Meatloaf day. Oh yes.

Biggles

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Greg said...

Never used Yukons for mash but that's going to change. We went through ten pounds of Idahos for nine people.Taters and gravy is my favorite.

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Chilebrown, oh you sweet talker, you.

Kailyn, you're right about the ham and mashed spuds - not the best combo. I imagine that Mexican American families like to have enchiladas on their tables, too.

Cookiecrumb, I think the reason I've preferred the rotisserie all these years, in addition the the actual moist bird, is that I'm not a huge gravy fan. I'm more of a "butter on my spuds" lover. But then, I haven't tried your famous gravy - I might change my mind if I did.

Rev, me too on the double spuds. Much the best part of any meal.

Greg, I hadn't, either, but Jack has converted me. Killer!

Saturday, November 28, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Not sure about TG but tamales are a traditional thing for Christmas in Mexican-American families.

Saturday, November 28, 2009  

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