I’ve got a lot of Irish blood in my. My mother’s ancestors are all from Ireland. Not sure if that’s why potatoes were big in our family growing up … might have been because potatoes were cheap and because it was easy to put 8 baking potatoes into the oven all at once. On the nights we had mashed potatoes instead of baked, it was convenient (in my mother’s view) for one of us to end up with KP duty, as my dad called it (yes, he was in the army at one point). KP duty usually meant peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes. Lots and lots of potatoes. Here’s a secret: I didn’t mind KP duty. First of all, it was a long process and I was okay with just sitting there peeling potatoes, especially if/when my younger sisters had been bugging the crap out of me all day (as younger sisters do). And mainly because I love love love mashed potatoes.
A funny story from the first year of my marriage. I was so happy to serve my young handsome husband a home cooked meal every night when he came home from a stressful day of work and a long commute. As I had done before we married, I’d fill half the plate with mashed potatoes (hey, being a grown up and only having to cook for one or two people had its advantages… didn’t have to share my precious mashed potatoes with seven others!). Dear husband thought I was insane. Why so many potatoes? It fills half the plate! He said this in a way to insinuate that half a plate of potatoes was a bad thing. Crazy (him, not me)!
Years have passed. The knowledge of carbohydrates and how they may not be the best thing in large quantities made me change the amount of potatoes I put on each plate. Sigh.
Clean (scrub) and dry 4-10 white potatoes (the amount needed depends on the number of people you’re serving these to, or if you believe as I once did that a half plate of mashed potatoes is not a bad thing). Cut off bad spots and cube potatoes into cubes no bigger than 1-inch squares (they’ll cook faster). *Note: I do not peel the potatoes, but you can if you wish to!
In a large pot, over medium heat, cook the potatoes with just enough water to cover them, and a dash of salt. Cover and cook until tender.
Drain then return to the hot pan. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter (fewer potatoes, less butter). Also add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream. Mash well. These will be more like smashed potatoes, since there isn’t any liquid to soften them too much. If desired, for a smoother texture, add up to 2 tablespoons of whole milk and mash well.