It’s that special time of year. The time when we come together with friends and family and celebrate what we’re truly thankful for: eating without consequences. I mean, there are obviously consequences; that’s why every resolution I’ve ever made on January 1st includes “STOP EATING PIE FOR BREAKFAST” or some variation of that sentiment. But from October 31st until just after your hangover croissant on January 1st, calories don’t count. That’s a fact. Even as I’m sitting here writing this, I’m eating some pumpkin cake topped with melted, toasted marshmallows because it’s a Monday and Mondays come with ennui, which can only be cured by dessert—another fact.
My point is that during this brief season of indulgence we eat foods that we would otherwise avoid. Take the green bean casserole, for instance. Have you ever looked at the nutritional information for that classic American dish? It’s enough to scare you into only having two servings at Aunt Hilda’s. My favorite example, however, is the mashed potato.
Now mashed potatoes, you may say, aren’t that indulgent. They’re commonly seen year-round on tables across the nation. And that’s true, they are. But not the kind of mashed potatoes I’m talking about. And here is where I’m going to infuriate legions of potato lovers. I’m going to say something to you, Internet, and I’m going to be right. You won’t want to believe me. You’ll be indignant; you’ll say there is no way I could possibly know what I’m talking about. But I do. Trust me.
The only way to eat mashed potatoes around the holidays is with mayonnaise. That’s right, America. In the South (or at least the South where I was raised) we put mayonnaise in our mashed potatoes. And it makes them perfect. More perfect than sour cream. More perfect than cream cheese. A hell of a lot more perfect than milk. And we put the mayonnaise in mashed potatoes in addition to butter.
Here’s where I confess that growing up, my mom, dad and grandmother would make these on a weeknight, which, I recognize, spoils my “perfect for the holidays” schtick. But I’m guessing you don’t eat these on a weeknight. I’m guessing if you do have Tuesday potatoes, they’ve got skim milk and maybe a little margarine in them. Perhaps fat-free sour cream if you’re feeling fancy. To which I say: GO FORTH. INDULGE. JANUARY FIRST IS ALMOST HERE. WHIP REAL BUTTER AND FULL FAT MAYONNAISE INTO YOUR MASHED POTATOES AND LIVE, FOR ONCE!
These potatoes will change your life. I’m serious. And I have the converts to prove it.
Editor’s Note: Here’s to kicking off the holidays in decadent style! Get Elena’s recipe for mayonnaise-y mashed potatoes here.
Elena Rosemond-Hoerr is a photographer and writer based out of Baltimore. Born and raised in North Carolina, Elena writes about Southern food culture, blending stories and recipes to bring a piece of the South to everyone. You can find her delicious recipes on her blog, Biscuits and Such, and follow her food musings on Twitter @biscuitsandsuch.