12 good sized Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large pot with water and as you prepare the potatoes, throw
them in after quartering them. After you are finished, drain the water
if it looks dirty or murky and fill it up with fresh water. You need
to adequately cover the potatoes, but there should be at least a
couple of inches of cooking room.
Place the pot of potatoes on a burner, turn up to high and get the
potatoes boiling. You can put on a lid on it (it will boil faster) but
stay in the room so it doesn't boil over. When it starts to boil,
bring the heat down to a simmer and cook until fork tender (about 20
minutes or so, depending on how big your potato quarters are).
Now carefully drain that heavy pot. See if you can draft a big burly
guy to do it for you. If not, please be careful!
To your steaming pot of potatoes, add butter. How much, well I don't
want to be quoted on how much I use on Thanksgiving (hey, it's a
special occasion!), let your conscience be your guide.
Next, salt and pepper to taste and add about 1/2 cup of milk. That's a
starting place. Now pull out your potato masher and put some elbow
grease in it or get the big burly guy to do it. DON'T use the electric
mixer on these gems! Potatoes have gluten in them and when you over
handle them (as in whip the daylights out of them with an electric
mixer), the gluten develops making your lovely mashed potatoes look
more like wallpaper paste that needs thinning. Don't go there! Use an
old-fashioned potato masher or potato ricer (same kind of deal, only
there are little holes in the bottom instead of the usual zigzag
pattern of the normal potato masher).
FlyLady does her potatoes earlier in the day(about an hour before the
meal) and puts them in a crockpot on low with a little butter on top
to keep them from drying out (and the lid on too, of course). I think
that is ingenious. However, one word of caution is that with so many
variables with crockpots, you need to make sure yours will work for
this task and the "low" setting isn't too high. My old one works for
this job, my new one is too hot. See what I mean? Test run a small
batch first if you are able.