439: Mashed Potatoes

Molly 0:04

I'm Molly.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:05

And I'm Matthew.

Molly 0:06

And this is spilled milk, the show where we cook something delicious. Eat it all and you can't have any.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:12

We have a little something new for you.

Molly 0:14

You may have noticed in your spilled milk feed. A couple weeks ago, we released the trailer for a new podcast that we're doing.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:24

It's called dire desires life lessons from classic erotic thrillers,

Molly 0:28

this idea came out of that, believe it or not, guys, when we go on our corporate retreats, we actually like we do some some real hard thinking. And

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:41

that's my favorite erotic thriller hard thing hard thinking with Michael Douglas.

Molly 0:45

We also watch erotic thrillers at night on our corporate retreat because nothing says professionalism, watching sexy movies with your co workers. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:54

we make all of our numerous employees gather around the television, and we and we put on like a body heat or a body of evidence or something with body in the title and they're forced to watch

Molly 1:05

we decided that, you know, after having so much fun, and it's sometimes so much pain, disappointment, pain, watching these movies together, we decided to make a show out of it. So it's the cool part is it's not just me and Matthew any Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:21

nice producer, Abby is on the mic.

Molly 1:24

She's on this side of the mic this time, guys. And she is a real movie buff. She actually has studied film, unlike me and Matthew, so she brings a whole other angle to this ridiculous new endeavor.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:35

Yeah, producer Abby will be like, did you notice like this running motif throughout the movie? And valida be like, No, we did not. We never noticed a motif in our lives.

Molly 1:44

No, then we're like, what's a motif?

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:46

Exactly. This is a super fun show. It is a limited series. It is totally free. And you can get it wherever you get your podcasts just search for dire desires or go to dire desires. podcast.com. And if you like spilled milk, I think there's a 99% chance you're going to enjoy tire desires.

Molly 2:02

So dire desire. Go check it out.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:07

It's got a lot of Molly, this otherworldly voice that I think even Molly doesn't know where this voice comes from.

Molly 2:13

My own mother heard our trailer for dire desires and was like who's talking?

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:18

So that's my favorite thing that's happened.

Molly 2:20

So tune in and listen to me channel and knew me.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:23

Yep. Alright, so let's talk about food. And that food is best for data's that's my that's my perd haply impression, I think, who's heard happily heard happily is a recurring character on the sitcom Parks and Rec, oh,

Molly 2:39

I need to watch more Parks and Rec. You know, I only started watching the office recently, like very recently, the humor in it. It really agrees with me and I hear Parks and Rec is similar.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:49

Yeah, Park Parks and Rec is like the office but a little more gentle.

Molly 2:52

A little more gentle. Yeah, I like I like the the hard thinking of the office.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:58


Molly 2:59

I'm using hard thinking now. I'm still not

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:00

sure where my catchphrase Yeah, if we started out like like a comedy podcast about philosophy, let's call it hard thinking.

Molly 3:09

Alright, anyway, so today we're talking about mashed potatoes which, frankly neither one of us is going to be eating during this episode. It's 10am and Matthew is sitting alone in his dining room

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:22

true. I'm in my closet again yet mashed potatoes kind of soft thinking

Molly 3:26

it is soft thing. Let's tiptoe softly

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:27

down your mashed potato memory lane. Okay, so I'm not a big mashed potato eater. But there are a couple of key mashed potato landmarks on my memory lane, and one is the mashed potatoes from Al forno restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, which also appear in their cookbook, cucina, simpatico, which is one of the best cookbooks ever. It is a bit of an unusual mashed potato recipe in that it's a skin on mashed red potatoes. And you you leave them a little bit chunky and you put it in tons of butter and cream and salt. That's it. And it's great with their sausages and grapes recipe which we've talked about on the show many times have you

Molly 4:05

ever been to hell for now?

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:07

I mean, I have heard you talk about this cookbook, more than any other single cookbook, I think in the history of the show. So will you tell me more about oh four. Now al forno is a Italian restaurant like a rustic Italian restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island that has won multiple James Beard and other awards, I think. And it was founded by Joanne Killeen and the late George German it is just inventive enough without going without ever going too far. So they popularized grilled pizza. So like, oh, okay, they didn't literally invent grilled pizza. But if you go to a restaurant in the US to get a grilled pizza, some out for now is somewhere in the lineage of that dish.

Molly 4:50

It's so interesting to me that that a mashed potato recipe that you particularly love has come out of an Italian restaurant that regularized grilled pizza.

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:59

Yeah. But like but they're also like nothing about the the their approach is light. It's you know, it's a very like butter, butter and olive oil and cream. Their other signature dish that I also talked about and we've talked about on the show a bunch is is baked pot creamy baked pastas. where, you know, I think it was the crusty corners episode we talked about it. It's some shells or Penny with cream, a lot of cream and some cheese like baked and sometimes you've got butter on top also, it's great.

Molly 5:26

And I know that there's another restaurant that is on both of our memory lanes, and that is Lark here at Seattle. Wait a minute, does Lark exist? And he does. It does. It's but it moved from its original. Okay, yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:39

they're doing they're doing like amazing takeout now.

Molly 5:41

Oh, cool. Well, so Lark is owned by a guy named john Sundstrom. And he from the very beginning, I mean, straight out of the gate became well known for his mashed potatoes, which were served in a little stove, like a little tiny Dutch oven. Yeah, hand type thing. And these were incredibly smooth, thinner than some American mashed potatoes in texture but incredibly smooth, incredibly buttery mashed potatoes just off the hook mashed potatoes and I believe that they are modeled after the famous robu Shah mashed potato. Yes, French chef Joel Robuchon.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:22

I know they are because on the menu, they're called the pump detail hobo shell.

Molly 6:26

Ah, okay. Well, anyway, we're going to talk more about the hobo Shawn potato here in a minute. I think my garage door is opening. I don't know if you you heard

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:36

that? Well, there's also a leaf blower outside my place.

Molly 6:39

Wow. Wild Wild times here. Yeah, no, no,

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:42

it's like a nature show. Like you can hear the the meaning of the leaf blower and the garage door opener, which we are going to meet with each other.

Molly 6:51

They're trying to find each other.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:54

What anyway, if a leaf blower and a garage door opener had a child, what would it be? Would it be like one thing that combined all of the best and worst aspects of a leaf blower it would be really loud. And sometimes we get stuck like going halfway up and down and just kind of clacking back and forth. These are the bad things about it. But also, also it'd be really good at like cleaning up leaves and keeping your car safe, I guess.

Molly 7:19

Yeah, all those things. Hey, I'm gonna go further back on my memory lane.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:24

Okay, please do. We don't have to judge this, this hybrid creature just on like, what it can do for us? You know, like, what about its personality?

Molly 7:32

Ask what it can do for mankind? No, no. We're for our country.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:37

Oh, yes. Yes. Is this offspring of a leaf blower and a garage door opener sufficiently patriotic? That's the question.

Molly 7:45

Maybe we'll figure it out by the end of the episode. I think we'll come back to it. Okay, memory lane. So I remember as a kid, I remember my dad making garlic mashed potatoes. And he was always I can't remember if he used a Julia Child recipe, but he always referred to them as Julia Child mashed potatoes. But he was forever changing the recipe. So I think

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:08

Julia has permission right?

Molly 8:10

Always with Julia's permission. She was very involved in all of our meal decisions at home. My dad would call her up and be like, so I'm thinking about simmering the garlic and milk before adding the milk to the mashed potatoes. What do you think about that? And she'd be like, oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:27

great idea.

Molly 8:28

So yeah, my dad loved to make garlic mashed potatoes. And I do remember him taking whole cloves of garlic and simmering them in a small saucepan of milk. homie, I know, right? I don't know if that's how he always did it. But sometimes then, when Brandon and I got together, Brandon started making garlic mashed potatoes. Brandon never knew my dad. I think my mom and I mentioned to Brandon that my dad had always been the mashed potato maker at Thanksgiving. So Brandon took up the mantle. Oh, great. he devised his own his own format for mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. And what he does and still does it to this day is he caramelizes a bunch of onions and some garlic and then puts them scrapes all that stuff into a food processor with butter and makes basically this kind of you know, it's almost like a mousse texture. But I guess this sounds to create a caramelized onion compound butter type thing. And then he mashes that into Yukon Gold potatoes,

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:33

I believe with the skin on so the potatoes don't go into the food processor. It's just making like the flavoring compound

Molly 9:41

flavoring. Yeah, so a bunch of parmesan to

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:45

Oh, this is really good. Yeah, I've

Molly 9:47

never made it myself. I've only watched Brandon make it a million times. But yeah, the mashed potatoes of my childhood pretty much always had garlic in my

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:57

80s 90s thing. Not that not that. It's Gone away by any means, but like garlic mashed potatoes was a phrase I heard a lot at one time more so than I do now,

Molly 10:06

people were always just like, hey, if you had garlic mashed potatoes, I mean, you just you'd show up for your zoom call. And the first item on the agenda would be garlic mashed potatoes. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:17

no, I remember that about the 90s like a lot of very garlicky zoom calls. I want to I want to focus on something you said which was that Brandon took up the mantle of mashed potato making, because that got me thinking like, Is there anything that I've ever taken up the mantle of, and I for a while I was I was like the main Cornish pasty maker in my house. And that was sort of like taking up the mantle of like, gallery's, mom's pasty making. But now Laurie makes the pasties more often. So I don't know if I can really claim the mantle there. Have you ever taken up a mantle is what I'm asking.

Molly 10:49

I don't think I've taken up any mantle's. Well,

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:54

do you have a mantel at your house?

Molly 10:58

I think I have a small mantel over my fireplace. There's this weird ledge that's like three bricks long and it's off center from the fireplace account. It's like just big enough and weird enough to like, I don't know, put like balance a piece of kid art and a box of matches

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:17

on Yes.

Molly 11:18

Do you have a mantel?

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:20

I don't. We had one as a kid. At some point. Like I really got the sense that if something was really special, it would go on the mantel and like I was kind of into this idea. And now we don't have a mantel. And so if something is really special, it gets magnet into the fridge. Yeah, the like place of pride on the on the fridge now contains like both irises and my circuit certificates of passing the Japanese fluency test.

Molly 11:45

Oh, I didn't know I received done it too.

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:47

Yes, Iris. Iris did a different level than I did. But we both passed.

Molly 11:51

That's so cool. Oh, wait a minute. Hold on, but the mantle that we're talking about taking up the mantle. I mean, it's not like it's not like my it's not like brand new. I think. My dad's fireplace. Oh, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:02

hope he didn't I think it's

Molly 12:04

more like a breast plate or like something that goes on your chest. Right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:08

That's what yeah, I think you're right. Or it could be the mantle of the earth. Because like if you took up the like, oh, it is the weight the mantle the bra or

Molly 12:19

I'm sitting here. No, I'm sitting here. I get something that goes on your chest. Oh, right. Right. I've just rubbing my own breasts.

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:28

Yeah. The rubbing went on much longer than necessary to make the point.

Molly 12:32

And then I started doing it. And I was like, This feels nice. Of course it does.

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:41

Okay, so what was this episode about? mantle's? Oh, oh, wait, you said you said Brandon did not pry the mantle fire your father's fireplace, but imagine if he had that as a confident move?

Molly 12:56

Yeah, imagine if that was how men like you know like, like, sir I've come to ask your daughter's hand or ask your permission for your daughter's marriage and then you pry the mantle off the wall to show what a man you are that you can you know you can provide for I don't think I lost my last daughter

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:15

in prime that mantle

Molly 13:17

I don't think you would have either but yeah, it was me theories how powerful your hair was powerful at the time so don't underestimate the strength that would have given you like Samson

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:26

Yeah, but it turns out like exactly like all my power was in my hair which has been gone for decades and like it's so now I have no strength left to pry a mantel or anything else

Molly 13:37

but you've been doing your your daily yoga here I have to

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:40

do my daily yoga and like I can I can still have just enough strength to mash up a dado. Oh, wow. Which brings us back to mashed potatoes. The other mashed potato on my memory lane is the mashed potatoes found in the dish potato Gatto, which is from the Italian country table by Lynne rossetto Kasper like her version and the one that I first encountered of this rustic Italian dish, which is like a potato pie that is based on mashed potatoes but can have like a bunch of different things in it like I usually make it with fresh mozzarella, and peas and so persada and then you put bread crumbs on top, very tasty.

Molly 14:15

You know, Louisa Weiss, who is the author of my Berlin kitchen and classic German baking. She lives in Berlin and in the time that we've been in lockdown she has been posting a lot of videos in her Instagram Stories of of what she's been cooking for lunch and dinner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:30

Oh yeah,

Molly 14:31

she's just a fantastic and very like unfussy cook and it's just a pleasure to see even her most boring meal. However, she made something in early May. That kind of sounds like like a slightly germanna FIDE version of of this potato. It was mashed potatoes. I think it had either ham or bacon. I think it had some cheese and it looked like it had maybe bread crumbs on top, you could cut it into way edges anyway. sounds very

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:02

much like the same, the same dish that probably has like seeped across borders.

Molly 15:07

Yeah, it should. It sounds like it should seep. It sounds very lovable.

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:11

It should seep. Things that are lovable should see if you love somebody, let them let me see.

Molly 15:25

Hold on, can I, I did the research for this. Oh, yeah. And I want to share my knowledge, Matthew, anything else you want to say? Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:33

I was gonna say that the meat for the rest of the episode. Like, I'm gonna be powered down in just a moment. And you're gonna take it from here. Okay, great. Yeah, I was just gonna say that when, when you mentioned the German version of potato pie in the book, the companion table by Mark strassman, which is another of my favorite Italian cookbooks. He's a New York chef. He mentioned that he used to work at like at a resort kitchen or like, like a hotel kitchen in the German speaking part of Switzerland. And they had a separate potato kitchen called the kartoffel. Cook. And, like this fact has stayed with me for a long time.

Molly 16:09


Matthew Amster-Burton 16:11

Yes. Right.

Molly 16:12

It seems like something that Joelle hobo should have had to because he was so famous for these potatoes. And as we'll discuss a little later, apparently, it took so much work to prepare enough potatoes for the restaurant. Yeah. So it seems like you would need a separate kitchen you would

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:27

it wouldn't have as cool of a name in French as in German. In this case, I don't think

Molly 16:31

it would also be clunkier cuz potato and French is pumped a tear. Like Yeah, Earth Apple, which is the name of that that song Earth

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:39

apple. That Apple, please be mine. That song. Yeah. Yeah, that's alright, I'm gonna power down now and let you mess it away.

Molly 16:57

As usual, I did most of my research on Wikipedia. And what really surprised me about researching mashed potatoes, at least on Wikipedia is that there was so little history. Like we have done foods that are far less common across cultures than mashed potatoes. And they'll have like paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of history on Wikipedia apparently, people feel that mashed potatoes are so ubiquitous that nobody has even cared to write the history of them on Wikipedia.

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:26

I have a theory about this I think the more complex the preparation of the dish, the more likely it is to have like recorded history because this makes sense. Yeah, cuz mashed potatoes I just think like it's unlike a lot of things we talked about where it's like how did someone figure out how to do how to like make it all of you know mashed potatoes like you cook the potato and then you smash it? So it's probably harder to trace the history there.

Molly 17:50

Yeah, I think I'm almost certain You're right. Well, so according to Wikipedia recipes for mashed potatoes as a recipe started appearing in 1747 with an entry in the art of cookery by Hannah glass. Bravo Hannah glass. Yeah, I heard of it. And then potatoes in general, maybe not mashed potatoes have their perhaps most important moment when Gollum potatoes explained to him. And the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers when samwise gamgee is preparing a stew with like a rabbit or something that Gollum has brought over to the that habitus. And you should, you know, look it up because my Gollum voice is like my Gollum voice used to be really good. And now it's bad. Oh, no, that's the opposite of good. But anyway, Gollum, like you know, cavorts over to samwise gamgee and sort of looks at him as though he is maybe pulling his leg about this idea of potatoes and he says, What's take time is precious.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:00

You're right. Something has happened to your girl and boys. I think you need to go on a quest. That they're better that was better ready to I think you need to throw something into the crater of mountain Doom in order to get your voice back. Ideally what it is, but I hope it's not me

Molly 19:17

then samwise gamgee responds potatoes, boil em, mash them stick them in a stew. Do you mind? Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:23

I haven't. I've only seen the first movie. I mean, I didn't like the first movies. I didn't see the other ones I've cancelled out

Molly 19:32

it was it because it was too violent for you. It's

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:35

too long.

Molly 19:37

Oh, Matthew It is like so watching all three of them as a total of like 10 hours of footage and it's horrendously violent and very dark and so good.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:47

Yeah, just doesn't sound like my thing. But I mean, I do like Gollum if I watch a supercut of just all the Gollum parts. How about that?

Molly 19:56

I'm still really I don't know what happened to my Gollum voice. Anyway. But so okay people,

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:03

people and columns can work together to make a great potato

Molly 20:07

people disagree on what type of potato makes the best

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:11

match to they ever

Molly 20:12

in general what I've always heard is that flowery potatoes as opposed to waxy potatoes make the best mashed potatoes that flowery ones tend to get fluffy whereas waxier potatoes tend to get gummy however, Matthew I mean, you're out for no recipe that you love so much is made with red skinned potatoes which are usually pretty waxy indeed, and it's delicious. So I don't know maybe it is gluey and I like gluey.

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:39

I've also heard that if you mash the potatoes in a food processor, they'll get gluey. I don't think I've tried that one way or the other. I just prefer the texture of a more waxy mash interest like the classic the classic mashed potato. It's it's one of why for the show Lori's favorite things. To me. It's kind of too plain and like a waxy potato just has more textural interest and like kind of traps the butter in a different way.

Molly 21:02

That's interesting. I don't think I've ever had mashed potatoes made from Red skinned potatoes or not in a very long time. So I usually tend to use Yukon Gold potatoes, which I think of as another thing that like stormed the scene in the 90s they did storm

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:17

Yeah, I remember that. I love they storm

Molly 21:20

the castle they pried the mantel off the wall. They said we're potato for mashed potatoes now. Yep. But some people swear by using baking potatoes or russet potatoes. Anyway then you know we get into a whole lot of disagreement about what is the right way to cook them. Do you peel them first? Do you peel them after? Do you cut them into cubes? Do you boil them whole Matthew take it away.

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:49

Okay because the skins are going into the four note mashed potatoes recipe obviously they will be cooked with the skins on but I believe quartered first, or like like cut into chunks first so they cook faster

Molly 22:01

do you start them in cold water.

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:03

Whoa, let me grab the cookbook because I do not grab it. Place potatoes in a saucepan adding enough water to cover them by one inch Bring to a boil lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft about 15 minutes. So they start in cold water.

Molly 22:16

And I have read that it like almost across the board every mashed potato recipe that I have seen recommend starting in cold salted water because if you drop potatoes into boiling water the outside it splashes on you for one thing, but also you can imagine the outer layer of the potato if you're thinking of the potato is the earth with a crust and mantle and a core. Back to the Earth's mantle thing. Oh yeah, definitely.

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:46

And and they have a liquid core made of like molten iron. Yes, that's

Molly 22:51

what's in every potato. Yep. Anyway, you can imagine if you drop a potato into boiling water, the outside is gonna start cooking right away and is going to get overcooked by the time the heat reaches the inside and cooks the very middle. This is the theory I think we would really have to defer to a friend of the show

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:10

Kenji Lopez all on that question because it seems like he's probably already investigated this.

Molly 23:15

God I wish I had thought to look up any of his recipes. Or or looking Food Lab his book.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:21

Yeah, I'm sure I'm sure you have some thoughts. We can we can link

Molly 23:25

But yeah, I always no matter what I'm cooking. If I'm boiling potatoes, I always start them in cold salted water when you

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:31

think about the Earth's crust. Do you ever consider or worry as I do that if there were like a space Godzilla that the space Godzilla would find the Earth's crust really delectable like like a like the way we like things with with a crispy shell now like maybe we should call it something else so as not to attract space Godzilla is is what I'm saying?

Molly 23:52

Well, I think if we just call it crust and if we don't you know if we don't overdo it and start calling it like Oreo cookie crust or bread crust or whatever, it's fine. We're

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:03

crispy fried Earth.

Molly 24:04

Yeah. crispy fried Earth, right. Okay, anyway. Okay, Matthew. So you got your potatoes, you boil them in cold water. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:12

so apparently that is what I do.

Molly 24:14

Did you say yours appealed or not?

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:15

Not peeled, except for the potato Gato recipe they are appealed and those get cooked whole. I think also starting in cold water but then cooked longer because they're cooked. Hold on. I use Yukon golds for that recipe. And then you peel them as soon as you can after cooking them, which is there should be some expression for something that is as hot to the touch as a as a potato that's just been cooked.

Molly 24:37

Should it be a hot potato?

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:39

Uh, no, not that like a

Molly 24:42

you know what, I think that we should be fiery tuber. I think that we should make a children's game. Okay, based on how hot potatoes are when you're trying to handle them and peel them and we should call this game. Hot potato.

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:56

That's one and yeah, what we should

Molly 24:59

have children. sit around and play it. tossing an object from one person to the next. It

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:04

sounds like you'd want to burn a bunch of children. What's wrong with you?

Molly 25:07

Haven't you ever played hot potato?

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:09

Yeah, I'm doing a bit.

Molly 25:10

Oh good. Okay.

Come on here.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:20

I think it was a children's game based on the concept of space Godzilla is chewing on the earth.

Molly 25:27

Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:29

It does. Yes, I play hot potato. Yeah, that's true. I've also played I've also played telephone there was there was a time when I was a kid when like playing getting to play telephone with like a big circle of kids was as fun as fun could get.

Molly 25:42

Do you know what was never fun though, was being in a situation where you had to do that icebreaker game of passing an orange from like underneath your chin. Oh, that's terrible. I need somebody else's chin. That never was not nerve break. nerve break. It

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:57

was very nerve breaking. I yeah, I broke several nerves.

Molly 26:00

I hope we never have to do that again in the post Coronavirus era. Oh, that's

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:05

a good point. outlawed. Is this something that came up for you a lot like in the last few years?

Molly 26:11

No, I was just thinking of a games that used to happen when you would sit in a circle,

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:16

right? Yeah.

Molly 26:17

dances that were wager boards, icebreaker games with oranges, hot potatoes, a

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:24

duck, duck goose and you went straight to say

Molly 26:30

musical chairs.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:33

There are three spirits who want to talk to you. Two of them are ducks. And we're not yet sure about the third one

is going really well so far.

Molly 26:47

So wait, Matthew. Okay, so you've got your potatoes cooked. They're peeled or not peeled depending on what recipe it is. Now, how do you turn them into mash? Do you use a potato mashing device? Do you use a ricer? Do you use a food mill? Tell me what do you do?

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:03

I am so glad you asked because I use a potato mashing device which is specifically in this case a potato masher the kind the kind that has like the kind of radiator shaped metal squiggle squiggle. Yeah. And I find that works absolutely fine. You know what that is also great for it. I think this is a tip that I got from from cooks illustrated many years ago. So like if you put some ground meat into a pan and you want to break it up into little bits potato masher works great for this.

Molly 27:30


Matthew Amster-Burton 27:30

We do have a food mill. I think I use it about once every two years. And yeah, for like grinding canned tomatoes sometimes. I don't even know what else but it's hanging up there in the kitchen.

Molly 27:43

I have a food mill and I have a ricer I don't think I've ever used the ricer I think I used my food mill for the first time in the last year and I just felt like cleaning it was pretty not fun.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:00

What Jamil?

Molly 28:01

I don't remember what I mailed it might have been like apple sauce or something like that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:06

Yeah, that makes sense.

Molly 28:06

I have a potato mashing device also called a potato masher and, and I agree like that works just fine for me, but I think that if I wanted really really smooth mashed potatoes like a French Pum pewley kind of situation, I would want to use a ricer because that's gonna give the finest smoothest texture.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:29

You want to hear something weird. Not only did we use to have a ricer but I believe there was a time when we had to Reiser's one of them interchangeable discs. Wow. We no longer have any potato riser. I don't know what happened to them. I assume they got thrown into Mount Doom. And I have noticed them

Molly 28:48

I think a writer a writer,

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:50

potato writer,

Molly 28:52

let's talk about writers was something we might actually know a thing or two about. Which Yeah, I think that a ricer kind of inclined to dig mine out. I think it's at the back of I have this cabinet under the counter that's in the corner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:07

You make Harry Potter sleep

Molly 29:08

it's where I make Harry Potter sleep. No it's it's where all the cooking appliances and devices that I don't use. They all gather there.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:18

Oh sure.

Molly 29:19

Yes. And they hang out there for years. Anyway that's where my food mill lives and I think I have a racerback there and I'm kind of curious to get it out because now that I think about it ricing potatoes sounds really smart.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:31

It does. Yeah, and I think it's very satisfying to because it's it's just like a big garlic press.

Molly 29:35

Did Iris ever have one of those playdough kits where they would make like the herder hood? Oh yeah, with an extruder I don't

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:43

remember whether Iris had that or not, but I did when I was a kid.

Molly 29:48

No, there's i got i love that kind of stuff. I'm gonna look for my Reiser when we're done with this episode.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:53

Yeah, like use it for potatoes user for playdough

Molly 29:55

Yeah, anyway, so Matthew, what do you put in your mashed potatoes and What order do you put the flavorings or the fats in? Okay, so

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:04

I think the butter goes in first because it because it's going to need a little time to melt and then the cream or milk shortly thereafter and i think i think it's fine for the salt to go in anytime.

Molly 30:14

I've only made mashed potatoes actually a few times like we tend to be a roasted potato household. Yeah, same here, but I have used butter and milk. I don't know if I've ever made mashed potatoes with cream.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:28

It's very tasty. Awesome. Okay, I

Molly 30:30

want to talk about the rubbish on potatoes. So there are several different versions. If you look these up, you can find different recipes claiming to be rubbish on potatoes, but the the most famous ones attributed to Joelle hobo Shawn have a two to one potato to butter ratio. So for every pound of potato, you've got half a pound of butter. Wow. Like it doesn't take that many potatoes to make a pound. Right? And then you think about two sticks of butter.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:00

Yeah, I'm thinking about it. That's so cool.

Molly 31:04

So apparently, by the way, hobo Shawn is no longer alive. But apparently there is some sort of Legend of or there's a video out

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:12

there is that his spirit roams the pastures of France just like putting butter and stuff.

Molly 31:18

Yeah, I was gonna say that, that he he is the patron saint of buttery mashed potatoes and he flies over people's houses and drops more butter into their mashed potatoes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:29

That makes sense. There's

Molly 31:31

a video of him somewhere in his kitchen hassling some poor low on the ladder cook who is ferociously whisking some potatoes and hobo channel is saying,

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:44

Oh call dupa dupa dupa

Molly 31:48

more butter more butter.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:50

Oh, but like then you just know that there's going to be a point where, where the underling puts in one pad of butter too many and then hopefully Sean's gonna just lose it but you can't do that you can't you can't suck butter out of mashed potatoes

Molly 32:07

well so here's what's interesting and I think I've heard of this elsewhere. So he has you boil the potatoes with the skins on then you peel them when they're still hot you also play the game hot potato at this point then he has you rice them to get that really fine texture and then he has you put the rice potatoes in a pan over the heat and stir them to sort of dry them out and make them fluffy. Yes, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:32

have heard of this.

Unknown Speaker 32:33


Molly 32:35

Anyway, then he has you add the butter diced butter. That must be cold. Interesting, right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:41

Yeah. Although like that's that's a big thing in in French cooking I think like a montejo Bell with with cold butters. So this emulsifies better maybe? I don't know. I don't know what the what the deal there is.

Molly 32:55

Yeah. Anyway, I believe you do this, you know, still on the heat. And then you've heated up the milk and the milk goes in hot so cold butter first, then milk and then you whisk the mixture a bit to lighten it before serving it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:11

Yeah, I've never made it but I have had it a number of times at Lark and Seattle and it's a good recipe

Molly 33:17

when you make mashed potatoes. Well, I think I know the answer to this because we talked about the four no potatoes, but

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:23

let's hear like Newlywed Game style and see if you know the answer.

Molly 33:26

Do you want them chunky? Or do you want like how do you feel when you find an unmatched bit of potato in your mashed potato?

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:33

I feel fine about it i don't i don't like actively shoot for chunky but like I want to I want him to have a little texture like unless like I do I do you know if I'm going to Lark and they're going to make me the roboshot like super super smooth soft potato puree great. I'm down with that. But if I'm if I'm making like a rustic out foreigner style mash at home, I don't want it to be perfectly smooth.

Molly 33:55

Do you think that smooth mashed potatoes should be one dish and chunky should have a different name like on Wikipedia they suggested that a chunky version of this dish should be called smashed potatoes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:12

Now I think of smashed potatoes as being like a heavily flavored chunky mashed potato Really? Yeah. Like I don't think of it as smashed potatoes unless it has like, you know, like cheddar and chives and bacon in it or something like that.

Molly 34:26

Oh God, I would have never thought of that. That's so interesting.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:29

I mean, I don't know where I think

Molly 34:30

at all. But But I

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:32

know this is the most interesting segment of our show is like what what stuff like like ask names, throw out some other food words. I'll tell you what, what the what they did. To me. I can't think of anything. Just the name of any dish. elbow macaroni that is a whole roasted fish topped with scallions and ginger and then you pour some oil over it and then it kind of says,

Molly 34:54


Matthew Amster-Burton 34:55

I'm chicken noodle soup chicken noodle soup is a flat bread that is from originally from Central Asia and you cook it you cook it over like a hot stone.

Molly 35:07

Oh, it's got scallions in it. No, you sprinkle it. That's

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:11

a that's a different way you're a Snickers bar is the thing you're thinking of. Is that sesame seeds chicken noodle soup. Okay, dumbest JavaScript we've ever done. Congratulations. All right,

Molly 35:26

Matthew. Hold on. I want to I want to turn our mashed potato discussion away from fresh potatoes. I'm going to power you down. Okay, Matthew, Matthew. Have you ever made instant mashed potatoes?

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:40

I can't answer that I empowered you to wake me up again. Hey, Siri.

Molly 35:47

Hey Siri, have you ever made instant mashed potatoes?

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:50

I found the information on instant mashed potatoes@potato.org I don't think I've ever made the instant mashed potatoes like I'm I walked by them in the supermarket.

Unknown Speaker 36:01

You said the instant mashed potatoes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:04

I've never made the I think I think my brain was thinking the instant pot.

Molly 36:08

Oh, okay.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:09

I know I've eaten the the instant mashed potatoes I'm just gonna give lean into it. Like in a in an institutional context. Like at like at a college dorm that sort of thing.

Molly 36:20

But yeah, we all have without without realizing that they were the instant mashed potatoes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:27

Can we call our band The instant mashed potatoes? Like Like, pop band? I love it. Have you made the instant mashed potatoes at home?

Molly 36:37

I never have

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:39

what are they called like, finito buds. Is that one of the brands? Yes. Yeah, I love that name.

Molly 36:43

Never. It's never occurred to me to buy a box of instant mashed potatoes. Although it does seem like really good lockdown food dye notice again to you know, not in Louisa weiss's direction. I have seen her in her Instagram Stories using boxed instant mashed potatoes. No.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:02

Any problem with it?

Molly 37:04

No. I mean, there I'm sure I've eaten them many times and thoroughly enjoyed them. But yeah, it's interesting. Usually when we buy them at the grocery store, they usually apparently come in the form of flakes. Whereas when you buy them in like huge quantities for like an institutional setting or whatever, they come in granules.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:22

That is interesting.

Molly 37:32

Okay, all right, Matthew, let's let's wrap this thing up. I talked a little bit about about some serving suggestions. Okay. Yeah, I'm excited to know what to do with their mashed potatoes

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:41

bangers and mash. Love it

Molly 37:43

so this is the bangers being sausages. Yeah, okay.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:47

Cole cannon we made this on our like St. Patrick's Day episode I think was in 2010

Molly 37:54

It's delicious. I remember when we made it thinking this is great. I'm going to make this more often and I've never made it again. Is it with

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:02


Molly 38:02

is mashed potatoes with cabbage leeks

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:08

anything all right great bubble and squeak so that a description of bubble and squeak which sounds really good I don't know if I've ever eaten it it's one of these dishes where the name is so entertaining that I forget what the dish is.

Molly 38:20

I had to look it up the idea of it is that you take whatever vegetables and meat is leftover from your like your Sunday roast if you're in the UK Sunday roast like you've rested a joint yes and then you smoked it. You take your cold mashed potatoes whatever veggies are leftover whatever meat and you pan fry it and bubble and squeak Of course refers to the sound that the various meats and or the veggies make

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:52

yeah cuz like this England is really is really like where like this type of dish happens like that with dishes with with names that are so funny that I can't remember what the dishes because like spotted dick Don't I know it's a desert but I don't know what's in it. toad in the hole. I know. You take a sausage and you drop it into something but I'm not sure what I think probably the crater of Mount Doom, but I haven't looked it up. That's all I can think of. Bedfordshire clanger. I don't know what it is. I

Molly 39:15

think I think I know the answer to this but I want to hear it from you. Do you like your mashed potatoes with gravy?

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:20

Not a big gravy person? I

Molly 39:22

was kind of guessed that based on your condiment version.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:25

I don't like you know, catch up. I just don't want anywhere near me gravy. Like I don't have a problem with it. It's just not something that I get excited about. Again, like I've already been canceled because of what I said about the Lord of the Rings. And so like, I'm just gonna have, like, Great this thick gravy thing's not going to make it any worse.

Molly 39:43

No, no, it's not. I don't really understand gravy, and I've eaten lots of different people's gravy. I bet notches on my bedpost every time I know people receiving gravy. I mean, lots of different gravies and I think I just Don't care. Yeah, I just don't want gravy and I think that good mashed potatoes are so good that like I just don't want to screw around with anything.

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:08

Okay, let's let's move ahead to something I do like mashed potatoes as a topping for shepherd's pie or cottage pie. This is not a dish that I eat often, but every time I do have like, Oh, this is great.

Molly 40:18

I think we've talked about shepherd's pie or cottage pie on the show before and I've mentioned the mother of my childhood friend Jennifer, her mother was Linda pascoal, the one who always had like a box of Franzia wine in the fridge and he was actually the one

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:31

who now lives in paradise coast, Florida or something like that.

Molly 40:35

She lives in in in Naples, Florida. Okay. Anyway, Linda is a fantastic cook. And one of the things that I always think of her making from my childhood was shepherd's pie. And I remember eating it at their house and begging my mother to make it and it never happened. So but yeah, shepherd's pie so good. But it's like one of those things that has not made it into my rotation.

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:58

Yeah, okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna make a shepherd's pie sometime sometime in the next month. That's my pledge to you. I'm gonna write it down. Right here.

Molly 41:05

And then of course, mashed potatoes get used in other things. Like, you know, you have to mash potatoes to make neoci they sometimes go in like different cultures. Potato dumpling.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:16

Oh, yeah. Like perigee potato perogy. Like that's mashed potatoes in there. Right. Those are great.

Molly 41:21

I basically I think

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:22

yoke and we done in yoki episode we probably have, right?

Molly 41:25

No, I'm almost certain we haven't.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:28

Okay, well, then let's put that on the list. Great. Okay, cool. I love you. Okay. Okay. Okay. All right. That's it. Oh. Wow. You can find us online at spilled milk podcast.com and facebook.com slash spilled milk podcast. Instagram at spilled milk podcast. Our producer is Abby sir. catella. Don't forget to go subscribe to our brand new show dire desires just go to dire desires podcast calm

Molly 41:56

seriously, we think you guys are gonna love it. We had so much fun doing this show. Go listen and let us know what you think. Please do and until next time. Thank

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:03

you for listening to spilled milk. We're your potato buds. Molly wise and Barrett Matthew Amster-Burton.

do doo doo doo doo doo looking things up in a cookbook on the show.

Molly 42:25

dooby dooby dooby dooby dooby dooby doo doo doo