This, of course, is an embarrassing admission. But it’s true. (To be fair to me, I was also younger and a less experienced cook back then. But still…) The only way my Irish-American family ever made mashed potatoes, and being Irish-American we had them A LOT, was in the pressure cooker. I think I knew how to make them in the pressure cooker even before I had hit double digits in age. The first cooking lesson I ever had probably intoned, “Don’t ever, ever forget to put water in the bottom of the pressure cooker, otherwise, it might EXPLODE.” Given that this was the late 1970s and early 1980s, this was definitely true.
However, when I had my first apartment, I did not have a pressure cooker– this being the 1990s by then, they definitely had fallen out of favour– so I learned how to make mashed potatoes the old fashioned way: by boiling the potatoes in a pot full of water. I’ve been making mashed potatoes this way ever since– from dinners for two to Thanksgiving banquets for 30.
When I saw the recipe for mashed potatoes made in a pressure cooker in this book, I figured it might be nice to take a trip down memory lane and make them in the method that sustained by childhood. Surely, they would be just as good as I remembered them, right?
Well, you know what they say about not being to go home again. I mean, sure, the mashed potatoes were fine, but they weren’t the ambrosia of my childhood. They certainly get cooked a whole lot quicker– 10 minutes versus 30 minutes– so that’s a plus. But the downside is by doing them in the pressure cooker, you’re really steaming the potatoes rather than boiling them, and what we found was that they ended up having a very gluey consistency, which is less than ideal. It’s possible there was operator error in play here, but we all liked the traditional (read: Slower) way better.
Would I make them this way again? Maybe, but only if I was super short of time.