Monday, February 11, 2013

The Tale of Burnt Mashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes.

When we go to Popeyes, my side is mashed potatoes.

When we go to Golden Corral, I sometimes load up a plate with only mashed potatoes.

I love them.

The thing is, I rarely make them myself. Unless you count potatoes from a bag. You know, the kind where you just add water and stir?

Totally not the same.

I do, however, make real mashed potatoes for holidays and while they are okay, they don’t taste quite what I want them to be. I add butter. I add milk. I add salt and pepper. But they aren’t like Popeyes potatoes.

Anyway, I got these chicken stock cubes and on the back it said to add it to potato water for an added BOLD taste. Mmm, I could go for bold mashed potatoes. So I decided to try it. I prepared the potatoes, cut them in cubes, stuck them in a pot with water and then…

…well, then I got distracted.

First I started talking to people on Facebook. I even announced that I was making REAL mashed potatoes.

Then I picked up a book and started to read.

And read.


“What’s that smell?” Tom asked.

I sniffed. It smelled like burning. What could possibly be—shit, the potatoes! I tossed my book aside and rushed into the kitchen that was filling with smoke. I peeked in the potato pot and found that all the water had evaporated, leaving the little chunks of potatoes stuck and burning to the bottom of the pan.

“My potatoes!” I yelped, turning off the burner.

Then the downstairs fire alarm went off.

Followed by the upstairs fire alarm.

“WHAT’S HAPPENING?” Tommy shouted, rushing down the stairs. He does not like loud noises.

“Jesus, Amber, what did you do?” Tom asked, coming into the kitchen. I was surrounded by smoke going, “Oh, nothing amiss here, ha ha…”

He gave me a Look and started opening a bunch of windows.

“This happens a lot when you cook, Mommy,” Natalie said sweetly.

It’s true. I burn a lot.

It’s just, cooking isn’t my thing. At all. I’m not a fan of it. It does not bring me joy. Eating brings me joy. Cooking does not.

Mashed potatoes would have brought me joy.

And now they were burnt.

I tried to salvage some. I added a bunch of butter and milk as the smoke danced around me. The alarms finally went off…and then popped back on.

The poor cat was running around the house in a panic and Tommy was on the couch rocking back and forth.

“How do these taste?” I asked Tom as chaos ensued around me.

Tom took a small bite and made a face. “Burnt.”

I licked the spoon. He was correct.

I picked up my phone and asked Siri, “How do you save burnt potatoes?”

Her response? “You’re certainly entitled to that opinion, Amber.”


Even my own phone was giving me attitude.

The fire alarms finally stopped and I was left with disgusting potatoes, a troubled son, a frantic cat, and a house that smelled like burning.

I guess it takes talent to burn mashed potatoes because when I mentioned it on Facebook, several people asked me how I managed to do so.

Hi. I’m Amber. And I have ADD in the kitchen.

Please make me some delicious mashed potatoes because apparently I cannot be troubled or patient enough to make my own.

Or I’ll just get a vat of potatoes from Popeyes.


  1. I LOVE me some mashed potatoes! I genuinely consider myself an expert on the restaurants that serve the best ones!

  2. lol on the phone's response. Siri is never helpful on things like that.

  3. I would be bummed too, mashed potatoes are my favorite. I had to laugh at Siri's response though - priceless.

  4. Oh Hon, they aren't that hard to burn. If it can be cooked, I can burn it. I've burnt things that should be much harder... trust me... That's why I SCORED when I got my hubby. He does not like my burning erm "cooking" and he does quite well at it (even "plates" the food). All I have to do is bang around some pots and pans and make frustrated noises and he magically appears in the kitchen!

  5. I am thinking of two things... First, you could try a little sour cream in the mix, to enrich the taste? I never have, but heard so many people do that. I am not the mash potato maker in my house so I can't say with any absolute certainty. Second, when you go grocery shopping, sometimes in the meat section or the cheese aisle, they have containers of mashed potatoes that you just pop in the microwave and ta da. Most of them aren't bad at all. There's a brand called Jim Bob, I think... it includes a little bit of chunks and all, tastes so real.

    As for burning? ha ha ha. Maybe set a timer so when you hear it you'll know to go and check? You're so funny. :)

  6. I don't get cooking either. Not just because I'm terrible at it, or because "cut film to vent" is the extent of my ability, I just don't "get" it. And I graduated from restaurant school from college. Go fig.

  7. I burnt hard boiled eggs once too (same reason, I forgot them and all the water evaporated). I'm going to go out on a limb and say that burnt eggs smell worse than burnt potatoes!! Hope that makes you feel better!

  8. Siri's response was awesome! Ha ha.
    The secret ingredient for mashed potatoes (imo) is mayo. I know, it sounds weird but it's my tried and true recipe. Lots of butter for flavor and just a little mayo for that creamy texture.
    Or just add everything you would eat on a baked potato: sour cream, butter, bacon, salt, pepper, green onions...Now I need mashed potatoes and it's only 9 am...


  9. I've never had popeyes mashed potatoes before, but I'm with you on them always being my side. I love mashed potatoes. I hope that you'll give them another go. I set alarms because I totally get distracted too. My trick is to whip them in the kitchenaid. It makes them so much more fluffy than if you mash them by hand.

  10. You can buy a tub of them. I think they are Country Crock. They are amazing.

  11. good recipe:
    just go buy Popeyes mashed potatos and throw away the containers.... but in all honesty here is a good way of doing it
    Use yukon golden potatos
    peel skin off potatos and cut into pieces boil the potatos until soft (roughly 1/2 hour)
    mash potatos, add half/half, salt pepper, cayenne pepper or paprika,
    for some extra flavor add some bacon and cheese.
    I then put them into a casserole dish and bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes...

    yes it takes time but its well worth the effort

  12. oh and put a few pads of butter on top of the potatos before you bake them....

  13. Mashed potatoes are so one of my favorite foods. One of the few memories I have from my open heart surgery when I was 5 was for every meal when I could order food I ordered mashed potatoes with whatever I was eating.

    Sounds like it isn't the cooking but the distractions that are the trouble :) I totally get lost in books like that too

  14. Aw man, that makes me sad. Mashed potatoes are tasty!

  15. Here is my recipe for mashed potatoes (and they are delicious EVERY time)....

    I have my Hubby make them. When he does the garlic mashed potatoes I die just a little - because they are THAT good.

  16. Ha, ha. It must be awful to have to cook and not enjoy it. We put garlic in our mashed potatoes, too. My husband adds cream and it does taste better, but i would rather eat cookies then add cream to the potatoes.


  17. If it makes you feel better, my babysitter when I was younger attempted to cook a frozen pizza on a plastic plate. That is a smell I will NEVER forget!

  18. If it makes you feel better, I do that with rice all the time. I mean, who can't cook a pot of rice? That would be me.

  19. Ha ha! Natalie and Siri's responses made me laugh. I love mashed potatoes too! I use russet potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper. They turn out awesome!

  20. Mayo. Makes awesome potatoes even more awesome. Especially the box or bagged potato flakes. Makes then taste much more like fresh mashed potatoes. :D

  21. I hate when that happens. I've never burnt mashed potatoes but that's probably because I make them once a year maybe. Those bob evans mashed potatoes in a container are pretty good. I hate the instant kind.

  22. Ewww, I imagine the smell was a bit overwhelming. I vote for Popeyes. Always Popeyes.

  23. Seriously, Siri does have a tude'. I tried to get her help on Valentine's Day ideas and she had no idea what I was saying and kept wanting to search the web. I told her that she was lazy for always using the web for help.... got the same 'entitled to your opinion' comment. Man, I love Popeyes taters. yum.

  24. My secret ingredient for mashed potatoes is coffee creamer. I know it sounds weird but the mashed potatoes are so good that way!

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