Thursday, September 11, 2008

Comfort Food for September 11

It's been supremely nice for me to live 'off the grid' for a short while, here in this tiny, red cottage of mine; I have no television, or radio, or stereo set up, and the lack of a cell phone tower in the area means that I've been incommunicado for a few, blessedly quiet days. I can't say that I've minded, as I am a solitary person by nature, and being here--alone with just the deer, and my thoughts--has been a gift after a rather stressful few months. But, alas, the responsibilities of life and work calls, and so this week I got wired up with internet access and a phone line; I am sadly, back on the grid.

This morning I realized--since being back on the grid means I am back to checking my schedule and online news--that today is September 11th. Sadly, I didn't find this out by reading one of the top stories on, but rather by checking my calendar for the day and seeing that my cable box is being installed this afternoon. My initial reaction was that I was unhappy I had to wait around for a cable box that I don't even want, but when I realized the date, I was even more unhappy that there wasn't one single blurb on reminding me that 3,000 people were killed on our shores just seven short years ago today (2,600 of them not far from where I type this entry). Surely there is something wrong with our society when Michael Jackson's underwear being auctioned off makes the top stories on CNN, but the anniversary of September 11th does not.

If ever there was a day for comfort food, and for counting blessings, today is it. Fall has come quickly to this region, which makes it the perfect night to roast a chicken, mash up some spuds, and to sit down for dinner with the people (or person) you love most. Make sure to give them big hugs, and be happy and grateful they are with you on this date, safe and sound.

Then, pass the potatoes.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk
S+P, to taste

Note: I use a ricer to make my mashed potatoes as they simply come out better (lighter + fluffier) this way. That being said, feel free to use a masher, or a mixer to whip your spuds.

Place potatoes in a pot with just enough cold water to cover, add salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain.

In a separate saucepan (or, in the microwave), melt the cream and butter.

If you are using a ricer, simply rice the potatoes, then add the cream and butter mixture and stir. Thin with milk. Season with S+P to taste.

If you are using a masher or mixer, place the hot potatoes in a bowl, add the cream and butter mixture and beat (avoid overbeating potatoes as they tend to get gluey). Thin with milk. Season with S+P to taste.

Serves 4.

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