Recipe of the Week, March 28: Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes have become such a European staple that it wouldn’t be hard to find someone in Ireland or Poland who would swear that the starchy little tuberous crop was indigenous to the Old World. But in fact, potatoes are native to the Americas and were only introduced to Europe in 1536.
Some say the recipe for mashed potatoes originates in 1771 when a French man named Antoine Parmentier came up with the idea of having a competition on ways to make potatoes. Having had the idea, it’s no surprise that he then won first place and then eventually began cultivating potatoes himself. The story goes that he hired a group of royal soldiers to guard his farm near Paris. But the guards were not vigilant enough; peasants stole Parmentier’s crops, effectively introducing potatoes into the cuisine of France and, much later, widespread Europe.
The basic recipe for mashed potatoes is pretty much the same all over. What distinguishes one recipe from another are the ingredients added after the potatoes are mashed. Many people add cheese, sour cream, bacon, garlic, onions, or herbs to flavor their potatoes.
How do you make yours? How do you use your leftovers, if there are any?