There are medicines that help the body heal or ease the pain. There are also methods we use to help the heart and soothe the soul. There are homemade remedies and little tricks to help alleviate the symptoms from some of our daily ailments. Then again, there are homemade remedies that are equally as healing. These special offerings, such as a bowl of Grandma’s soup, are effective. There are little meals that help the heart and, of course, there are dishes that only Mom could make.
I can tell you about the time I was bullied or about the time when I found out about the Tooth Fairy. I can tell you about the times when I was sad or when my anxiety was high because school was my main stressor. No matter what my issue was at the time, there was always something about Mom’s cinnamon toast that made things better.
Maybe it was the way Mom spread the butter and mixed a little sugar with the cinnamon. Maybe it was the bread that Mom would buy. Maybe this was a case of all the above. Or maybe this was something that only a Mom can do.
Maybe this is a Mom’s intuition or maybe it’s the way Mom served this to me on a plate with an understanding hand and a certain touch.
Maybe this is what made all the difference. But who knows?
What I am about to offer you is something that I am quite proud of. More importantly, what I am about to share are the physical ingredients to something that has helped and healed me in more ways than one. I am proud of my creations as well as the alterations which I have made throughout the years. If this helps you, then yes, mission accomplished.
Mom’s mashed potatoes were always special to me. Mind you, I understand that mashed potatoes might not sound like the end-all, be-all, to a great meal. But to me, this is my penicillin. This is the soul food with the healing power that is more effective than any antidepressant.
To me, there was nothing like Mom’s chicken cutlets and mashed potatoes. There was nothing in the world that was so healing; and to this, I explain that as a kid, I was too young to understand what the word “depression” meant. I didn’t know what the word “disorder” meant nor did I understand what “anxiety” is or how to verbally explain an emotional crisis. I was too young at the time. I lacked the vocabulary to explain myself or to relate my information in an understandable way.
I was more of a visible symptom. It was clear that there was something challenging me; that I had difficulty in social situations; that I was frustrated; that I lacked the ability to communicate and it was also clear that I lacked the feeling or idea of being understood.
I suppose my fits and outbursts were obvious. I suppose that to a parent, this would be a struggle because although I lacked the ability to explain myself, it was clear that I was unhappy.
At times like this, Mom would fry up some chicken cutlets and whip up a batch of her mashed potatoes. Although the cutlets were fried up perfectly, Mom’s mashed potatoes were nothing short of love in a bowl and that’s what did the trick.
I offer this to you with an effort to be both as loving and as healing as my Mother would offer this to me. Secondly, I would like to offer this to you, as another person in this world who I care for and I mean this as deeply and warmly as possible. I offer this to you as a person who goes through life and lives with life’s terms. This is for you.
This is something to assist us through our challenges and as someone who lives with my own mild bouts of doubts and intense insecurities; this is an offering to help heal the un-seeable wounds that somehow never fade.
I am offering this to you as a means to an end; to help you with the unjust moments and unjust emotions for whenever they may come. Or, at minimum, I am offering this to you with hopes that perhaps this can hit the needed spots in your heart the same this did for me.
Again, I offer the suggestion to play the right music. Trust me, this is important to help put you in the zone and build the mood.
I’m a fan of Idaho potatoes which peel quite easily.
Peel as many potatoes as you choose. Inn my case, I look for at least four or five of the biggest potatoes. Yes, I choose wisely and yes, everything you do with this dish is done to your taste.
After peeled, I cut the potatoes up and then I boil them.
Now is a good time to get the rest of the ingredients together. Get a stick of butter. Don’t forget the salt. Get some sour cream and some whole milk (or heavy cream). Don’t forget the cake mixer because this is going to be velvety as well as hardy.
With the music on, strain the water from the potatoes after they’ve boiled and become soft. Drop this in a big bowl. Drop in the stick of butter. Add a little suggestion of salt and start mashing with a big fork or spoon or whatever you choose that feels comfortable.
Keep mashing and stirring and let the melting butter mix into the potatoes. Now, add a little bit of milk (or heavy cream) and get your mixer ready.
Put the mixer on with the whipping inserts in the mixer and let the machine do the work.
You can choose how you’d like the potatoes to be. You can add salt as needed. Right about now is the time we put sour cream in the mix. They can be smooth or somewhat clumpy with chunks of potatoes or this can be as smooth as ever and trust me, either way is perfect
Let this become yours. Let yourself enjoy the process and more, allow yourself to choose the menu items that go along with your mashed potatoes. I’ve been known to add a little baked garlic to the mix.
(Mom never did that, but still.)
I’ve had this with chicken cutlets and steaks. By now, I’m sure that you understand this is not a cookbook. I’m not a chef. I’m an eater. I am sure you realize this journal is about the love that comes with a home cooked meal. Also, there are times in life when we all need a touch of “Mom” to help us through.
I understand that not all Moms are great at what they do and that yes, Moms are people too which means they come with their own faults and flaws. However, there are times (like now) when the head is heavy and the stress is thick. There are times when we wonder if we’re on the right path. There are times when we wonder if the things we experience are somehow a punishment for something we’ve done along the way. There are also times when we lack the vocabulary to explain what we feel or why our hearts are heavy.
That’s what Mom’s mashed potatoes are for.
Maybe this isn’t the right dish for you, but I’ll offer the idea that somewhere, somehow and at some point in your life, you’ve experienced this feeling – that you’ve tasted something which at the moment was as healing as any medication on the market, if not more.
The only other touch that I can offer to this dish as well as the steps taken to create this is the love which can only be made by you (or my Mom).
I swear to you, if we were to somehow rewind the clock to a time at my home where my family’s dinner table was and Mom was there to serve us, you’d have eaten every bite (down to the last bite) just as well.
You’d feel fine right after. One thing’s for sure … my Mom would have loved you more than you’d know.
I’m trying to share the love you shared with me and so many others. It’s been a while since I’ve made the mashed potatoes. Since my belly got a little bigger than I anticipated, I’ve been staying away from the big-belly foods. But that’s okay.
I have a picture in my mind from when you used to make these things for me. All I have to do is close my eyes and I can see it. In fact, I can almost feel it.