A Simple—and Delicious—Trick for Making the Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

Candice Bell/iStock via Getty Images
Candice Bell/iStock via Getty Images

Whether you’re hosting four or 40 people this Thursday, finding the time and the kitchen space to cook a perfect Thanksgiving dinner can seem like an especially puzzling math problem. And, while preparing certain dishes ahead of time can help solve those logistical issues, some of the most important seasonal classics just aren’t the same when reheated.

Among the offenders are mashed potatoes, which tend to lose their smooth texture once they’ve been stored in the refrigerator because the butter hardens. Considering that butter is a large part of the reason mashed potatoes are such a crowd favorite in the first place, it’s not exactly an option to get rid of it. However, according to Food & Wine’s Culinary Director Justin Chapple, there is something you can do.

In a recent installment of his video series Mad Genius Tips, Chapple shares the secret ingredient for scrumptiously smooth premade mashed potatoes, and it might not even require an extra trip to the grocery store: mayonnaise.

Chapple still uses a generous 1½ sticks of unsalted butter for 4 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, but he also adds 1 cup of mayonnaise—just enough to keep the potatoes creamy without seriously impacting the flavor.

To prove that his Mad Genius Tip works, Chapple then drops a spoon into each of two bowls of refrigerated mashed potatoes (one with mayonnaise, and one without). The spoon sinks right into the mayonnaise-d potatoes, while the other spoon bounces off the unyielding surface of the butter-only recipe.

Watch the video below to see exactly how the magic happens, and check out the recipe here.

How did mashed potatoes end up being a Thanksgiving staple in the first place? Find out the history behind that and more Thanksgiving dishes here.

[h/t Food & Wine]

Each State’s Favorite Christmas Candy

CandyStore.com
CandyStore.com

Halloween might be the unrivaled champion of candy-related holidays, but that doesn’t mean Christmas hasn’t carved out a large, chocolate Santa-shaped niche for itself in the sweets marketplace. And, of course, we can’t forget about candy canes, peppermint bark, and the red-and-green version of virtually every other kind of candy.

To find out which candies merrymakers are filling their bowls and stomachs with this holiday season, CandyStore.com analyzed survey responses from more than 32,000 consumers across the nation and compiled their top responses into one mouthwatering map.

As it turns out, 13 states—from California all the way to New Jersey—are reaching for mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over any other holiday candy. Something about that shimmery tinfoil really does make you feel like you’re unwrapping a tiny, tasty gift.

CandyStore.com Top Christmas Candy by State

Source: CandyStore.com

And, if you hoped everyone would kiss candy corn goodbye until next October, we have some bad news: “reindeer” corn, with red, white, and green stripes, is the top choice in a staggering eight states, all of which are in the eastern half of the country. Tied with reindeer corn was peppermint bark, which, given how much white chocolate it contains, is also a pretty polarizing choice.

Candy canes and Hershey’s Kisses clinched third place with a respectable six states apiece, but other Christmas classics didn’t perform nearly as well—chocolate Santas and M&M’s came out on top in only two states each.

After that, there were some rather unconventional competitors, including Starburst, Arkansas’s favorite holiday candy; and Pez, which somehow won the hearts of residents of both Louisiana and New Mexico. 

And, unless you’re time-traveling from the 18th century, you’re probably not surprised that sugarplums didn’t make the map at all—find out what they actually are (hint: not plums!) here. You can also search the full list of state favorite candies below.

Source: CandyStore.com

Relax: Fears of a French Fry Shortage Are Probably Overblown

magann/iStock via Getty Images
magann/iStock via Getty Images

Americans love their French fries. According to The New York Times, Americans eat an average of an average of 115.6 pounds of white potatoes annually, "of which two-thirds are in the form of French fries, potato chips and other frozen or processed potato products."

If you’re someone who annually devours the weight of a small child in fries at McDonald's or elsewhere, you’ll be distressed that potato farmers are facing a shortage—one that could create a fry crisis. But these concerns are likely overblown.

According to Bloomberg, a cold snap in October led to crop-threatening frosts at potato farms in Manitoba in Canada, as well as in North Dakota and Minnesota. In Manitoba, 12,000 acres went unharvested, the equivalent to what was left behind in all of Canada last season. Fields in Idaho and Alberta, Canada, were also hit, but some crops were able to be salvaged. Combined with increased demand in Canada for spuds, North America is looking at a potential tuber deficit.

Why are fries facing shortages, but not mashed potatoes? Fry vendors prefer bigger potatoes for slicing, which tend to be harvested later in the year and were subject to ground freezing and other damage.

This all sounds like cause for national alarm, but the spud industry has taken measures to keep the market fed. Potato experts told Bloomberg that while potato shipments will likely have to be rerouted from more fertile farms and into new distribution channels, the consumer may not notice any difference. A plea for rational thought was echoed by Frank Muir, president of Idaho Potato Commission. Muir told The New York Times that while Idaho is down 1 billion spuds, the state still managed 13 billion. His message to consumers is “Don’t panic … You can still go out and order them as you normally do.”

According to Muir, the major fast food chains—McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, among others—have temperature-controlled storage for their potatoes and probably have an inventory to fall back on. Rationing won't be needed—unless, of course, you’re watching your weight.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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