Subject: Mashed potatoes?
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 08:57:54 -0500
When boiling potatoes to make mashed potatoes I have always put the
potatoes in cold water, brought them to a boil and cooked until tender.
Now, I have a friend who claims that they taste much better if the
potatoes are not added to the water until it comes to a boil. Anyone
heard of this? Are they better? Just curious---
From: sue[at]interport.net (Curly Sue)
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 15:28:13 GMT
What I'd heard was that you start young potatoes in cold water and old
potatoes in hot water.
Unless I got it backwards. Anyway, that's what I do :>
From: hotel splendid Nice
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 19:03:55 +0000
You can do an even better version
You cut up the potatoes as small as possible, thin slices for example,
then you wash them thoroughly and put them in cold milk with a bit of
nutmeg, and of course salt, etc
you have to keep an eye on them as they cook (about 20 minutes)
you should put enough milk to cover them, and eventually adjust
after 20/25, just put them in a blender and adjust seasoning to your
From: stan[at]thunder.temple.edu (Stan Horwitz)
Date: 29 Nov 1998 16:16:35 GMT
Taste is a very personal issue so the only way you can really settle this
question is to try preparing mashed potatoes both ways and see which way
you like better. I suspect that most people wouldn't be able to taste any
difference or notice any textual change between the two potato boiling
methods, but I prefer to boil water first whenever I cook potatoes or
anything else that requires boiling in water simply because it takes less
time to bring the water to a boil that way.
Date: 29 Nov 1998 17:41:32 GMT
The short answer has to be, what do you and your friend mean by
better? I think the different methods produce slightly different
results, but less than the differences that come from whether you
use a ricer or a masher, a spoon or a mixer.
Starting the potatoes in cold water produces -- all else being
equal -- a more even degree of doneness from outside to inside.
Starting them in boiling water produces more difference in
doneness from outside to inside. The first is consistent with an
end result that is really smooth, whipped, homogenous texture.
The second may add a tiny bit to the result of 'almost lumpy',
hand mashed, less smooth.
However, the difference in doneness from outside to center is
also affected -- and probably moreso -- by the size of the potato
pieces. A big uncut potato will reflect this difference more,
while if you cut it up the difference will be less. So the
'smoothest' would be small pieces started in cold water, the
'graduated texture' would be uncut potatoes started in boiling
But your friend said 'taste better.' Maybe that means the water
tastes bad so it's good to minimize the exposure time to