In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Making mashed potatoes is a science? Definitely, and here are the secrets

Dana Velden

JewishWorldReview.com | Is there nothing more comforting and delicious than mashed potatoes? This warm, creamy, dairy-laden starch might be more of an indulgence than everyday fare these days, so I say go all out and do it right.

Mashed potatoes are one of those dishes that looks deceptively simple. Because of this simplicity, many people just throw them together in any old way using any old potato with very mixed, if not disastrous, results. Because mashed potatoes consist of nothing more than potatoes, butter, half-and-half (or cream) and salt, each ingredient is important.

And the mashing method is important, too.

Before we get to the method, though, let's look at each important component of the process.

Choosing the proper potatoes is critical. There are three types of potatoes: very starchy, like Russets; very waxy, like Red Bliss; and somewhere in the middle, like Yukon Golds. First rule: Don't use the waxy, red potatoes for your mash. They just won't break down enough, which means lumps will result, nor do they absorb the dairy very well. Stick with Russets and Yukon Golds. Of the two, the Russet will give you the creamiest mash, but many people prefer the flavor and golden color of Yukon Golds. It's a trade-off and totally up to you. I used Yukon Golds when testing and photographing this recipe and loved the results.

It is important that your dairy is warmed up before adding it to your mash and, equally important, that you add the butter first. The amount of water in the half-and-half combines with the starch molecules which makes the potatoes gluey. When you add the butter first, it coats the starch and results in silkier potatoes. Then add the half-and-half.

I use unsalted Irish butter (Kerrygold) because I like its taste and texture. Butter will be one of your primary flavors in mashed potatoes, so use the best quality you can. I use unsalted in this recipe so I can control the salt. If you want to use salted, do not add the additional salt in step 2, and simply taste and add salt as needed in the final seasoning.

I use half-and-half for the liquid, as I think it's plenty rich enough. You can use cream if you want for over the top, decadently wonderful results.


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Folks have been wielding the potato masher in the kitchen for generations, so if this is your preferred method, I say stick with it. I used a ricer for testing this recipe, and while I feel it results in superior potatoes (fewer lumps, more fluff) I actually prefer a food mill, which, besides also producing fewer lumps and more fluff, separates the skins so no peeling is necessary. I also find it easier to use than the ricer, which is really a two person process: one to peel, another to rice.

Don't ever use a blender or food processor to whip your potatoes! You will end up with glue and then you (and your guests) will be sad.

I don't peel or slice my potatoes before cooking them. The reason for this is threefold: Unpeeled and unsliced potatoes will absorb less water while being boiled, preserving the starch within the potato. Less water avoids a gluey, watery mash and allows the potatoes to absorb the dairy. Plus the potato peels contribute to the overall potato flavor. And finally, taking the peels off after cooking is quicker and easier.

As mentioned above, if you are using a food mill, the skins are easily removed as a part of the milling process. You may have to clear them out of the mill now and again, but really it's the most efficient method in my book. If you don't have a food mill, you will have to peel the potatoes when they're hot. I found, however, that in the case of the Yukon Golds, the skins were already peeling off just from their dump into the colander. I picked up each potato, held it in a potholder-covered hand, and used a paring knife to coax off the rest of the skins.

This recipe serves 8 to 10, but it can easily be halved or quartered. When working on this mashed potato lesson, I reduced the amount of dairy in my usual recipe by a small amount just to see if it made a difference. It did, slightly, but not enough for me to go back to the higher amounts. I think the combination of slightly less dairy with the Yukon Gold potatoes is stellar, but if you want to go all out, just add another 4 ounces of butter and an additional cup of half-and-half.


SERVES: 8 to 10

  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, well-scrubbed .
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • Chives (optional)
  • Pepper (optional)
  • Additional pat of butter (optional)


  • Large pot

  • Colander

  • Food mill, ricer, or potato masher

  • Two smaller pans for heating butter and half-and-half

  • Spatula or wooden spoon

1. Place your well-scrubbed potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to an inch above the potatoes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Test for doneness at 30 minutes. A sharp knife should easily go through the potato. Larger potatoes may take longer, up to 45 or 50 minutes total.

2. Slowly heat the butter in one pan and the half-and-half in another. I usually start this about 20 minutes after I start cooking the potatoes. Be sure to heat them over gentle heat so you don't have to worry about burning. I also add the 2 teaspoons of salt to the half-and-half so it dissolves and can be easily and evenly distributed.

3. When the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander in your sink. At this point, turn off the heat on the butter and half-and-half.

4. If using a potato masher or ricer, peel potatoes as instructed above. If using a food mill, don't peel the potatoes. In either case, the potatoes should be processed back into the pot they were boiled in. This will cut down on extra dishes and help the potatoes to stay warm as there is still some residual heat in the pot.

5. Add the hot butter, gently stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula to incorporate. When all the butter is absorbed, add the hot half-and-half. It will seem soupy at first, but the potatoes will gradually absorb the liquid and turn into a creamy mixture.

5. Taste your potatoes and add up to another teaspoon of salt if needed. This is also a good time to add pepper, if using. Spoon into your serving dish and top with optional garnishes such as a merry pat of butter or some chopped chives.

Additional notes:

--You can make your potatoes in advance of serving. If it's just an hour or so, leave them in the pot you mashed them in and don't garnish yet. Place the pot on the back of the stove over gently simmering water to keep warm. If they've been refrigerated, the best way to reheat them is to place them in a low oven, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Reheated mashed potatoes are often drier and may need additional (warmed!) dairy to bring them back to their creaminess.

--Some people get away with using a stand mixer or hand-held beaters. I personally find that this over-mixes them. However, if you're happy with the results, go right ahead. Just be very careful and don't let it rip or you will also end up with the unhappiness of gluey potatoes.

--Cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt are a popular additions to mashed potatoes. They all add a nice dairy tang and contribute to a creamy texture. Feel free to substitute some or all of the half-and-half with either of these ingredients.

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(Dana Velden is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to: kitchn@apartmenttherapy.com.)

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