So I had all kinds of plans for a specific dinner for last Sunday. I didn't make them. I had a meeting that day. Now, I'm a super-introvert. Meetings are never going to be my "thing" and I know that about myself, but this one was exceptional. It was going just fine until three people got into a "spirited discussion" about a minor point that will only affect a VERY SMALL minority of people for no more than THREE MINUTES of their lives. I'm not making this up. One person was exceptionally discourteous, consistently interrupted the person with the opposing viewpoint and spoke for so long that I wondered how he drew breath at all. He held us all hostage for a full hour so he could feel that he had his say on a subject that truly will only affect a small number of people for three minutes of their lives, and not in any kind of way that is significant or life-altering or even painful or harmful.
It's a game. People like this make me want to find another game to play.
There were ten - I counted - different parts of this conversation that were feeding into my rage. Some of them had little to do with the argument itself. I'd had other plans that day, for example - a Fair Isle knitting class that I'd already had to cancel out of once for family reasons. So I was really kind of already predisposed to be irritated, and then having had to cancel out of something intellectually stimulating and exciting to be the captive audience for some barn-raised jerk with a bee in his bonnet about something that doesn't actually affect him personally really sent me over the edge.
Anyway, the point of all this is that by the time that I got home I had no interest in the meal that I'd planned to make. I wanted some very specific things, and if my brain and body were both telling me that I needed those things then by golly I was going to get them. One of those things was mashed potatoes. I wasn't entirely sure why I wanted mashed potatoes, they weren't a favorite of mine growing up. I didn't dislike them, I liked them well enough, but there were other potato forms that I preferred. (I figured out why I was craving these things about halfway through the meal and I'll explain it when I describe the main dish, probably tomorrow.) Anyway, I stood there in the kitchen and my eyes kept falling to the potatoes. I finally gave in and said, "Fine. Mashed potatoes."
My dad always mashed the potatoes with milk. I know other people add cream or butter and that's fine for them. We always had skim milk at home, and I still prefer that. We keep 2% for the child and I've learned to tolerate that in things. I also had buttermilk on hand. Now, we never used buttermilk when I was a kid, but I'm kind of getting into it now. It imparts a nice, tangy flavor that everyone in this house likes. I decided that I would use it here. I sprinkled a little Urfa pepper on the top to give a little more flavor and because I got it as a gift and I'm enjoying it immensely. If you do not have it lying around anything like crushed red pepper flakes will do - Aleppo pepper is fine, paprika will be nice if you can't do hot peppers.
We all liked these. They went particularly well with the main dish, and went a long way toward improving my mood.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (serves 4; approx. $0.38/serving)
6 potatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Urfa pepper to taste (optional; see above)
- Large saucepan
- Potato masher
- Put the potatoes in the saucepan and add water to cover very generously.
- Bring to a boil.
- Boil the potatoes until very tender.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
- Add the buttermilk and use the masher to mash them.
- Transfer to your serving bowl. Sprinkle with the Urfa pepper and serve.