Cooking with the Non-Cook: Mashed Potatoes

Cooking with the non-cook is about as simple this week as the title of this reoccurring article. Today, I made some mashed potatoes, and I mashed them by myself. Sounds insignificant, but this is a landmark day. My mashed potatoes usually consist of opening a box or a pouch.

My troubled history with mashed potatoes began at a young age. I was eating mashed potatoes before almost any food, but one day I wasn’t interested. My parents attempted to get me to eat them, but I refused. My dad then said that this bite wasn’t mashed potatoes, but delicious vanilla ice cream. Expecting the cold ice cream, I took a bite and was met with the sobering potatoes. I vowed never to eat them again before I even knew what a vow was. This lasted for several years until I had the urge to try my future father-in-law’s mashed potatoes. They were highly recommended by everyone in my fiancé’s family. I wasn’t disappointed, and my feud with the crushed spuds was now over. Here is the way to make mashed potatoes like an adult, in case you are as hopeless as I was.


  1. Potatoes (allow 1 + ½ per person)
  2. Milk (roughly a ¼ cup for 4 medium sized potatoes)
  3. Butter (3 tablespoons for 4 medium sized potatoes)
  4. Salt + Pepper (to taste)

Step One: Prepping

  1. The first thing you have to do is wash and peel your potatoes. This is very easy and I still maintain that washing potatoes are a fantastic stress reliever. Maybe it’s because I worked at a deli where I cleaned several boxes in a given shift.
  2. You then start halving the potatoes until you can cut them up into little chunks.
  3. You put it into your pot and fill it up with water.

I’ll slow down for all of you who can’t wrap your head around this. Not the recipe, but the fact I never knew how to do it. Granted, I never thought a blowtorch or anything was involved, but I never went through the simple motions of making real food. Even at the deli, we had a machine that made lovely wedges out of our cleaned and peeled potatoes.

Step Two: Cooking

Once you put your potatoes on the burner, you let the water come to a boil. Then you have about twenty minutes before they are ready to mash.

Step Three: Finishing

Then you put them into your big bowl and mash away. This part can substitute for your P90X forearm day. The finished product won’t taste like vanilla ice cream, but they will be awfully good. Way better than your instant potatoes out of the box that many such as myself keep afloat despite the ease to make the real thing.

I picked something extremely simple this week because I want to show how far I am coming as a cook. I don’t want to be patronizing, but for those seeing the recipes I will tackle in a few weeks, I want everyone who was like me to see that if I can learn to cook, anyone can.