Mashing the potatoes

It was all my husband’s fault: he doesn’t like instant potatoes.

In addition to bringing cold sides that I could pick up from the deil, I had offered to supply mashed potatoes for our Mother’s Day luncheon. My sister-in-law and I had planned the menu on Thursday. Our primary goal was to keep my mom out of the kitchen by bringing all of the food, ready to eat. Our secondary goal was to keep ourselves out of the kitchen, too. After all, as mothers we deserved a break, too.

I had thought I could grab all of the sides on our way to my parents’, but soon realized there wouldn’t be time on Sunday morning. That meant I would have to do my shopping on Saturday. The thought of reheated mashed potatoes just didn’t sound appetizing.  I asked Peter to suggest alternatives.

“Why don’t you make them? We have potatoes, right?”

I paused before agreeing. Unlike my husband, I actually enjoy instant mashed potatoes. I used to fix them all the time before I started cooking for him. Now, I have to have really strong motivation to do all the work.

I usually don’t have that motivation.

But he was right about us having potatoes and, since I hate food going to waste, I said I would make them.

On Saturday afternoon, I grumbled in the grocery store as I picked up the supplies. It turned out that the small bag of potatoes in the pantry was almost empty, so I needed to buy more.

On Sunday morning, I grumbled as I rinsed and scrubbed the russets. I grumbled as I peeled each potato. I grumbled as I chopped them into cubes and slid them off the cutting board into the salted water.

It’s Mother Day. Why am I in the kitchen doing this work? This is all Peter’s fault.

As the potatoes boiled, I began assembling my tools: the strainer, a large bowl, the hand mixer. I grabbed salt and pepper and got the milk out of the fridge.

I should have bought half and half.

The thought stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly, I could picture standing beside my paternal grandmother in her kitchen. She always used half and half when she made mashed potatoes. The result was a delightful consistency that struck the perfect balance between thickness and creaminess. I loved her mashed potatoes.

I flipped through my mental scrapbook of memories: Thanksgiving dinner, Sunday suppers, this holiday or another, an average Wednesday night. I could picture Grandma in her kitchen, baking pies from scratch, heating vegetables she had canned herself, making mashed potatoes with half and half.

She didn’t complain. She made all of those meals without grumbling. Who was I to whine?

As I whipped the potatoes into fluffiness, I smiled. Not quite as good as Grandma’s, but close. Spending Mother’s Day morning making mashed potatoes had given me a moment to reminisce about a woman I loved dearly.

It was all my husband’s fault.


5 thoughts on “Mashing the potatoes

  1. I loved your grandma’s mashed potatoes, too. Gotta’ say that yours were also very good!! Thanks for all the work you put in!


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