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Fierce Foodie: The Secret of My Mother’s Amazing Mashed Potatoes [BOOK WEEK 2!]

I love the potato in all its forms: fried, mashed, boiled, baked, scalloped, whatever.  I can truthfully say I have never met a potato I did not appreciate, down to the flaccid, oily French fry at the bottom of the bag.  This is not a love ingrained by my cultural background, however, in fact as a Persian Filipina I have been raised on a steady diet of rice, rice, rice.  This potato love is pure American, borne of fast food fries cooked in lard and school lunch tater tots.

My mother and father hadn’t meant to live in the United States, but since they did they went ahead and learned as many culinary customs as they could and adapted as necessary.  The Joy of Cooking formed the basis for my mother’s understanding of American cuisine.  Though our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys were stuffed with rice, not bread, the mashed potatoes were always present and accounted for.   Boxed potatoes were never used due to their resemblance to detergent flakes.  Instead my mother mashed her potatoes by hand, and we loved each and every lump.  And the secret to its amazing taste and consistency?  Cream cheese.  Makes mashed potatoes that stick to the spoon and taste like a dream.

My Mother’s Amazing Mashed Potatoes


5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled

½ stick of unsalted butter

½ cup milk, plus more if needed to moisten

8 oz cream cheese – whipped is easier to use, but brick will do

salt and white pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes free of dirt.  Boil potatoes and then remove skins.  Or peel and then boil.  Or boil and then leave the skins on.  Personally I like the third option because it is more nutritious and easier.  Okay, it’s not really about nutrition, I admit it.

Drain water from potatoes.  Add butter and milk and mash with wooden spoon or potato masher.  Once well mixed, stir in cream cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

featured image credit: wikicommons