There is a season: Martha’s mashed spuds hit the spot

  • The writer’s almost-8-year-old daughter pulls KP duty. CONTRIBUTED BY MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 4/22/2023 5:17:18 PM
Modified: 4/22/2023 5:15:17 PM

I stood before my cookbook collection of about 300 or so, which line a wall of my dining room, and I asked myself, “Whose mashed potatoes would I want to eat?”

Let me rewind to St. Patrick’s Day. My husband, who is technically Irish (but among many other things) made a crockpot corned beef with cabbage, carrots and potatoes. It was delicious, but that didn’t stem our nearly 8-year-old’s disappointment, for she had wanted the potatoes to be mashed instead.

A week and one minor oral surgery later, I found myself with a doctor’s note encouraging soft foods. Like pudding, and mashed potatoes. I took it as a sign.

“I want to eat Martha Stewart’s mashed potatoes,” I said to myself. I pulled her original cookbook off the shelf and found a recipe, literally called “Martha’s Mashed Potatoes” and flipped to Page 350.

(I should just note that as I retold this story to my sister, she interrupted (or answered, depending on how one looks at the situation) and exclaimed, “I want to eat Martha Stewart’s mashed potatoes!”

Aside from the fact that I hadn’t even heard of the potatoes that 1990s Martha suggested —  Yellow Finn? California long white? — I happen to have every single other ingredient the recipe called for. Those included heavy cream, a stick of unsalted butter, and an 8-ounce package of cream cheese. (I tend to keep two of these on hand at all times for carrot cake emergencies.)

With all that dairy, almost any type of spud would have worked. My russets did, and I know Yukon gold would as well.

A warning: Don’t over-whip the potatoes. The recipe calls for whipping just with a wooden spoon, but I still had to tell my very enthusiastic 10-year-old not to overdo it before the mash turned gluey.

The mashed potatoes were truly outstanding, but let’s face it, a photo of mashed potatoes is a sea of white. So I offer a photo of my almost-8-year-old peeling potatoes for this recipe instead.

A colleague of mine had his wisdom teeth out last week and I sent him this recipe for his convalescence. It is worth noting that the ratio of butter to cream cheese is one to one, so if you don’t have two and a half pounds of potatoes on hand, just whittle down the recipe accordingly  — and maybe just a splash of the heavy cream.

Soon it will be springtime and I’ll be back with green recipes, but for now, these mashed potatoes are all I can think about.

Martha’s Mashed Potatoes from The Martha Stewart Cookbook


2.5 pounds Yellow Finn, California white long potatoes, or russet or Yukon Gold, washed and peeled

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into pieces

1 quarter cup heavy cream or creme fraiche

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut the potatoes into quarters, place them in a large stockpot with water to cover, and boil them over high heat uncovered for 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain and mash them with a potato masher, or pass them through a food mill. While hot, add the butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Whip until smooth with a wooden spoon.

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She’s been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. Send questions or comments to


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