My relationships in life have evolved over the last few years: from humans to mashed potatoes.
I love mash and it loves me back!
I have an insatiable love for mashed potato. It is true that life’s problems do get solved with a bag of crisp fried potatoes, but it was much later I realised that this steamy, hot pot of taters was a better companion than any other junk food. It sat with me in my toughest times providing comfort during my college days crisis. I like to rely on the good stuff to seal the cracks and tears of my heart. So one fine day, my sister introduced me to this heavenly goodness. Taking that first bite put an end to all my waiting and dreaming. You know that click moment when you feel much more than what you are just physically consuming? It’s about eating the right thing at the right place at the right time. We all know this feeling: like it has happened for a reason. You relate to it with a trigger of smell or when you hear or think about the place or the time, even now. What I had experienced was “synaesthesia”!
Seeing a steamy pot of mashed potatoes, all creamy and buttery glistening in the mid-afternoon sunlight entices me to a heavenly pleasure. The soft, luscious, buttery, starchy goodness with just a hint of the fragrant garlic and a dash of thyme surprises you with its warmth and wholeheartedness. The billowy, fluffy mass when combined with drippin’ home-style gravy/meat sets the perfect environment for a chilly winter evening when all you crave for is a good couch, some T.V. and a hearty wholesome meal(and wine too, duh). Just talking about this makes my mouth water and stomach rumble!
Now the key to make the perfect mash lies in patience. It may be one of the simplest dishes BUT they’re also one of the easiest to screw up. Potatoes can be quite a show stealer. Who can blame them, right? Seasoned well or not, lathered in butter or not, I’ll happily eat them – after all, I was always a carbohydrate kid. Mashed potatoes can be forgiving, and with a good masher, hot potatoes and enough butter and salt, I can say, hands down, nothing beats the taste of this big, warm bowl of potato. So i spent hours in the kitchen trying to make the best mashed delight. However, like many a love story, my relationship with it was not entirely ‘lump-free’. But, what isn’t there to like about mashed potatoes? Lump or lump-free, doesn’t matter. The dish is warm, soft, and creamy in your mouth. Comfort food at its best and perfect for anyone!
With every attempt to cook, I discovered my love for the kitchen. I was 19 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate. The whipping, clanking of vessels, chopping, slicing and the aromatic, delectable scent of food got me excited and energised. My sister and I would cook almost every month, mash being the most loved and prepared. The more I kept cooking, the more i began to realise that food is an intimate experience. It creates good memories, forges friendships, and makes the heart grow fonder. I began to treat my kitchen as a stress buster. If it has taught me anything, it’s this:
- fat is flavour
- respect knives (they are unforgiving)
- some things cannot be undone (like over seasoning or over beating)
- most importantly, the key to a perfect mash: BUTTER!
The good old masher clanging against the pot of light fluffy potatoes still remains as one of the fondest memories of my early cooking days. I loved it so much that I would eat bowl after bowl and end up lying down, feeling sick and satisfied with my mashed potato baby.
Food and cooking had/has/will always help me in my life. It ties me to places and people, it’s kept me breathing through tough times and it provided a creative outlet when other doors were shut in my face. Food is love on a plate.
As George Bernard Shaw said,
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”