You will have your guests guessing at the secret ingredient that makes these Mama’s Mashed Potatoes. Light and fluffy with a signature tang – this is a perfect batch of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, just like my mom used to make them.
Ever have a batch of bad potatoes? My best friend, an amazing cook, and the woman who initially inspired this home cooked life I live, and I were chatting and whipping up a big family dinner, like we often did (every single night), and something was just wrong with our mashed potatoes. We used Yukon Golds. We whipped, buttered, creamed, seasoned and whipped some more. Sadly, the giant bowl tasted horrible. Just like a mouth full of starch. The whole thing was off.
Not wanting to call it quits, we started rooting through the fridge for all of the substitutes and tricks that we had picked up along the way to spice up these potatoes. Ranch dressing was mixed in. Still tasted like starch. Heavy cream. Still starchy. Garlic. Oh, garlic starch. Sour cream, cayenne, other herbs, so on and so forth. And finally I recalled something my mother used to put in her potatoes – mayonnaise. We tried a bit of that as well.
Sadly, nothing saved that batch. The texture was amazing, with all that cream and goodness mixed in. But the potatoes never lost that overpowering starch taste. We ended up trashing the whole pan and starting again in a fit of laughter at how a well-seasoned cook and I messed up the most simple of things. Ever since that night, anytime I make mashed potatoes, I keep waiting for a batch to come back and bite me. To remind me that every now and then, nothing can save supper except a whole lot of laughter.
And every now and then, when I am feeling nostalgic, I find myself searching to recreate the few meals that my mom would sit on the table in front of us. I remember watching her boyfriend pull out a can of mayo as we sat in our RV prepping supper and stirring in several large spoonfuls. Even as a child, I was perplexed by the idea. Something foreign I’d never seen added to the trusty pot of goodness before. And when things are thin at home, or when I am just craving that familiar tang, I find myself skipping some milk and adding a spoonful of mayo to the pot instead. I am pretty sure the only one who would ever guess what that signature flavor was is me.