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Potato Mashers


JoNorvelleWalker
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This morning I noticed my by now possibly antique S shaped, chromed steel potato masher had rusted.  I am looking for a stainless steel replacement.  My favorite method to prepare mashed potatoes is to rice the potatoes and scrape them through a tamis.  But I am but one person, with but usually one potato -- and ricing a potato and scraping through a tamis is too much work, not to mention too much waste.  And I hate having to clean the tamis.

 

I have a Moulinex food mill but that also results in more waste than I'd like, and the food being milled gets cold.  I have an arsenal of motor powered appliances, however none I've tried beats a tamis for potatoes.

 

So what is state of the art in mashed potato technology?

 

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I don't know what's state of the art, but I like mashers that squeeze the potatoes through holes.  OXO and Zyliss make that style in stainless steel.  The one I have now is nylon/plastic from Pampered Chef (I don't think Pampered Chef sells it anymore.)  Before that I had a cheapo masher of that style made out of metal with some coating that flaked off.  

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I'm not up to date with 'state of the art' and have no real desire to be. I've never found found one implement that covers every situation.

 

I have a ricer which I like to use for potato pies  (fish pie or shepherd's pies) etc where I want a particularly smooth mash. I found that in a shop here in China around 2000AD. The owner asked me what it was!

 

I have a standard no-brand-name stainless steel masher which my daughter brought me from England last century at my request. I couldn't find one here then. I guess she picked it up at her local supermarket. I use this for more rustic things like 'mince and tatties'. Also for fish cakes where I want a more robust mash.
 

Then, I often just use a fork on the plate on rustic multiplied to near infinity occasions.

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1 hour ago, Chimayo Joe said:

I don't know what's state of the art, but I like mashers that squeeze the potatoes through holes.  OXO and Zyliss make that style in stainless steel.  The one I have now is nylon/plastic from Pampered Chef (I don't think Pampered Chef sells it anymore.)  Before that I had a cheapo masher of that style made out of metal with some coating that flaked off.  

 

 

I have a stainless steel WMF potato masher, what I would call a potato ricer.  It squeezes the potatoes through holes.  It's good as far as it goes, but for mashed potatoes I don't care for the resulting texture unless the riced potatoes are then scraped through a tamis.

 

Worse comes to worst, I could live with the tamis method.  But the old masher was quick and dirty.

 

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Flint.JPG.9779095a5ec8cfae8c181135f70541f0.JPG

 

Herewith my potato masher, second from right, which was my mom's, and probably dates to the late 1950s or early 1960s (Flint is the brand). To our taste, this technology is state of the art...I bring out the ricer when preparing a larger batch of mashed potatoes.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

Flint.JPG.9779095a5ec8cfae8c181135f70541f0.JPG

 

Herewith my potato masher, second from right, which was my mom's, and probably dates to the late 1950s or early 1960s (Flint is the brand). To our taste, this technology is state of the art...I bring out the ricer when preparing a larger batch of mashed potatoes.

Yeah, that's the general style that I like.  Round holes, square holes, rectangular holes--I doubt that would matter to me.

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2 hours ago, weinoo said:

Flint.JPG.9779095a5ec8cfae8c181135f70541f0.JPG

 

Herewith my potato masher, second from right, which was my mom's, and probably dates to the late 1950s or early 1960s (Flint is the brand). To our taste, this technology is state of the art...I bring out the ricer when preparing a larger batch of mashed potatoes.

 

I like @weinoo mother's masher.  I have two like it.

I'm not happy with the ricer texture...too fluffy. All he mechanized ones risk making a gooey paste.

 

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I have two ' wavies '  Oxo circa 2010 or so ,

 

and my mothers , circa pre-WWII

 

I got an Oxo w the circular holes , and didn't care for it as much as

 

either wavy one.

 

however , my favorite potato masher

 

is a hand held electric mixer .  it has a button on top

 

that ejects the two ' beaters '

 

of note here , this delightful device has the blades that are scalloped 

 

not just wire.  makes a difference id say

 

of course , I first use the hand-held as an actual had masher:

 

just mash right down on those potatoes

 

hopefully steamed russets ( iPot ) that have been cut into large chunks

 

first , but never peeled.

 

then I add the softened butter

 

and give the tots a brief whirl.

 

I had read some time ago that butter

 

on plain coarsely mashed pots 

 

gets a fluffier final mash once y0u 

 

start adding hot milk.

 

however , to each their own.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

Not sure if this would be picked up by 23 & Me or the like but both sides of my genetic inheritance are staunch lines of ricers so I've never had need of a masher. 

Aside from preventing one from opening drawers, what else do you use them for?

 

Making better mashed potatoes than a ricer!

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15 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

what is state of the art in mashed potato technology?

A fork.

 

For a small quantity of potato, a fork can't be beaten. Always to hand and minimal clean-up. If no one's looking you don't even need to give it a wipe; just eat with it.

 

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Growing up, mashed potatoes were one of my favorite foods. In the winter, my grandmother would serve them as an entree with hamburger gravy. Simple but delicious. The somewhat sad fact is that my mother and both of my grandmothers only ever used instant potato flakes to prepare mashed potatoes. Potato flakes are a fine product, and I keep them around for various purposes even today. One of their virtues is that they effortlessly deliver a super smooth, creamy mash. But given my early life experiences, I have come to associate super smooth potatoes with lower-quality instant product. Which is to say, I generally prefer somewhat lumpy potatoes -- small chunks of potato suspended in a continuous phase of buttery smooth potato. I have definitely passed my fair share of riced potatoes through a tamis (usually combined with half their weight in butter, a la Robuchon) and while that's delicious, if I'm making mashed potatoes to go alongside a roast chicken or meatloaf or whatever -- it's rustic lumpy goodness all the way. Which is where my fork comes in.

 

My preferred masher is a Foley fork. I first learned of the Foley fork from Julia Child, who used it to make mashed potatoes and guacamole. It's perfect for those tasks. (Julia also used a ricer and even a Kitchenaid stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make mashed potatoes -- there are many paths to deliciousness.)

 

DSC05545.thumb.jpg.a548866cdd9a5ce8002753295b30cdcf.jpg

 

These were made by the now defunct Foley corporation of Minneapolis Minnesota.

 

DSC05549.thumb.JPG.7a481ec0759ca14fb708d2a0ff71cffe.JPG

 

You can find them on eBay or Etsy or just keep your eyes open at thrift stores and antique malls. They're relatively inexpensive and make good gifts. There are modern knockoff versions, but I've never used one so I can't personally recommend them. This particular model was well used before coming into my life, as is evidenced by the state of the handle. It was originally painted bright red, but that's now just a ruddy tint over visible wood grain. I personally like that kind of patina on vintage kitchen gadgets.

 

Anyway, what sets this fork apart are that the tines are gently curved. Not only that, but they're all kinda janky and uneven with each other. This is intentional, as the minor imperfections facilitate mixing and mashing.

 

DSC05552.thumb.jpg.7350639317e61dbceefb2ebd032fe7b3.jpg

 

Janky tines -- they get the job done! If you want things smooth, you can smash all the lumps you want with this fork, but it's not overly aggressive so you can ease off before you're hitting smooth puree territory. Nice for lumpier mash, perfect for guac. I also use it to beat scrambled eggs and flip proteins in pans. It also brings batters together pretty well without working them too hard. It's wisklike but doesn't carry the risk of incorporating a bunch of air (unless you really want it to).

 

Sometimes I cook my mashed potatoes sous vide, rice them, and pass them through a tamis. Sometimes I use an Oxo masher with holes that delivers a less labor intensive lump-free result. But most of the time, I just reach for the Foley fork. Unlike those other tools, it's always at hand. 

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1 minute ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I can't see how you could use a fork to mash potatoes in a pot

I do it in the pot and if I can, anyone can. You squish a bit, squish a bit more. Squish around the edges, add milk/butter/cream, stir. Done.

 

You over-thinking this Jo?

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KInd of. Sides, bottom. Press tines through potato. Potato breaks up. Squish it until you're happy.

 

The fork will not make the world's most sublimely smooth mash but I don't like mash that's over smooth (nor washing a tammis or any other kit). It also won't over-mash them: too much action in there can make for stodgy/gummy/starchy mush in my book.

 

Go on. It's a potato or two. Give it a go and you will have eliminated another uni-tasker.

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I was given a potato masher last Christmas as a kind of novelty gift. It looked like it was designed for activities that are not strictly culinary. I passed it on to a friend who makes bigger batches of mash than I do. She declares it a winner.

 

It's the Spudnik (cute name): https://www.uutensil.com/collections/spudnik-innovative-rotation-potato-masher

 

Edited by FlashJack
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