September 09, 2013

I’m a big enough person to admit when I fail. And I have, indeed, failed.

One of the perks of working at the Cooking Light offices is the free food that occasionally crops up. Last week I snagged a few small potatoes, just enough for a two-serving dish of homemade mashed potatoes.

Now, I’ve mentioned that my family never cooked much, but I have one very distinct memory of my father making an incredible batch of this starchy comfort food. Skin on, slightly lumpy, and exactly how I like them.

That memory is what I was trying to recreate in my newest culinary endeavor. The key word here, however, is “trying.”

The instructions for these Basic Mashed Potatoes seemed simple enough, and I had all the ingredients. All I had to do was reduce the amount of liquid to match the smaller amount of potatoes I had. No problem.

So I proceed to boil the potatoes. According to the Internet, it would take me 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the spuds. I set my timer and waited.

When the wait was over, I poked them with a fork to see if they were tender. No dice. Set the timer again, waited, checked them, still not soft enough.  So I waited a bit more. Nope.

After over half an hour of waiting for the potatoes to get tender, I finally just decided to mash them and hope that the milk and broth would get them to the appropriate texture and smoothness.

So I mashed. And my arm got sore. Added the milk and broth. Cooked for two minutes and mashed some more.  Sour cream, salt, and pepper. Mash, mash, mash.

And what I was left with was a bowl of incredibly lumpy yet somehow soupy potatoes.

Frustrated, I looked back at the recipe to see if I had missed something. I had to have missed something.

“Ingredients: Cubed, peeled baking potatoes…”

Cubed, peeled baking potatoes.

Cubed.

Oh well, Jackie. We’ll do better next time.

Have you ever accidentally swapped salt for sugar? Forgotten to turn on the oven before a big dinner? Share your most memorable kitchen blunder with us and check out our collection of the Most Common Cooking Mistakes.

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