Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mashed Potatoes with Six Variations (Page 563)

  • Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 8pm
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Kitchen: Paul's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Paul
  • Recipe Rating: B-
Paul picked out these mashed potatoes. I don't know how to be fair in the way that I grade this one. So this recipe has 6 variations listed at the end (hence the name) and we made just one. Perhaps I should make all 6, but given that they are all contained in one recipe, I decided that picking one was the way to go. We made the horseradish mashed potatoes. They were really bad. The horseradish flavor was way too intense (even Paul thought this, and he loves horseradish), and the texture was just off. I actually did not eat the mashed potatoes on my plate. So normally I would have given this a much lower rating, but I think I am to blame for at least the textural issues. The basic mashed potato recipe calls for whole milk, but the horseradish variation replaces the whole milk with heavy cream.We made it with whole milk though, which I think was a bad idea. Anyway, these potatoes were bad, but it's possible that made properly they could have been ok, and the other variations may well be good.

Mashed potatoes remind me of my senior year in college. That was the first year of college that we had our own kitchen. Emilee and I lived with two other good friends: Rachel and Sara. Rachel loved to cook, and she was so funny in the kitchen. She never measured anything, and when she was deciding what to add to her food she wouldn't taste it, but rather she would smell it. So you would always walk in to the kitchen to find Rach, surrounded by ingredients, sniffing her food. It was quite entertaining. She's a really good cook though, and her food always came out yummy! Sara was a really picky eater, but Rachel knew how to cook food exactly the way Sara liked it. The four of us often ate individually, but when one of us cooked, we would eat together. I remember our style of cooking so fondly: someone would make one thing, and then we would all just eat that. The concept of courses, or side dishes was totally lost on us. Emilee would make huge batches of mashed potatoes, and we would all eat mashed potatoes for dinner. To this day, when I eat mashed potatoes I think of her. She would also make her amazing lentil stew. Rachel would make us all her special breakfast burritos. I made tuna casserole and oatmeal cookies. I loved eating with them! I have photographs of us sitting around the dinner table in our pajamas or gym clothes, eating Rachel's burritos and we all look so happy! In many ways, that was a really lovely year.

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