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.


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.