“In the end I always want mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes. Nothing like mashed potatoes when you are feeling blue. Nothing like getting into bed with a bowl of hot mashed potatoes already loaded with butter and methodically adding a thin, cold slice of butter to every forkful. The problem with mashed potatoes though, is that they require almost as much hard work as crisp potatoes, and when you’re feeling blue the last thing you feel like is hard work. Of course, you can always get someone to make the mashed potatoes for you, but let’s face it: the reason you are blue is that there isn’t anyone to make them for you. As a result most people don’t have nearly enough mashed potatoes in their lives, and when they do, it’s almost always at the wrong time”

-Nora Ephron, Heartburn 


Acutely observed….. but wrong!

If you’re on your own, cheating at mashed potatoes will just make you smug.

If however, you are making mashed potatoes for others, then it’s the eleventh commandment

“Thou shalt not be found out!”

that you have to obey.


With this cheats’ recipe, for people who hate peeling and fiddling around with mashers etc, you WON’T BE. I wholly agree with the aliens in the advertisement below who are falling about at the mere idea of it all. It is SO simple, if you use cups, and the tin of evaporated milk there isn’t even any weighing, measuring…no cooking. What’s not to like?


measuring cups

Measuring cups take the ‘merde’ out of measuring…


Just don’t tell your guests…. and don’t tell your doctor.


Other uses for Smash? In France, a cool individual was caught by police sniffing white powder off his mobile phone. Taken ‘down to the station’ he confessed to sniffing cocaine. But he was freed after tests showed that his coke was mashed potato powder.


Recipe for state-secret instant mash

Serves 4


o 120g/1 cup smash instant potato
o 240ml/1 cup just boiled water – but boil more, you will probably need it
o 1 x chicken stock cube dissolved in it
o 360ml/1½ cups full (do not even think of messing around with skimmed) milk (or you can use 2 x 170g tins evaporated milk plus an extra tablespoon of water – but then it takes on a slightly different colour and taste – still excellent to eat, but you probably will be found out)
o Freshly ground pepper
o just under a quarter of a pack of butter (40-60g/2 oz)
o 3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt


NB you can also add in:

  • plain yoghurt
  • cream cheese
  • mayonnaise
  • for an extravagant flavour, some truffle oil
  • to go with pork, some apple sauce and a little chopped thyme
  • mustard
  • cheese and parsley
  • pesto – looks exotic (green!) tastes exciting (zingy!)
  • black pudding
  • vanilla – I know this sounds unusual but if you mix in 1 level teaspoon vanilla paste into the recipe above you will raise your mash to yet greater heights
  • fried cabbage or cavolo nero, chives and spring onions – this makes it into colcannon in Ireland. Serve with sausages and calvados apple sauce. If you add in some cold roast beef it becomes bubble and squeak in the UK. 
  • Nigel Slater makes his mash with olive oil rather than butter and then adds lemon juice; then he serves it with asparagus and garnishes with lemon zest.
  • ricotta – and top with chopped, dry fried pecans or walnuts, and fried sage leaves.
  • horseradish
  • spring onions – thus making champ.

….or lobster.

If you want to sample a professional version of this, go to Parsons. The Infatuation Instagram feed tells us:

“This lobster mash is the kind of thing that Henry VIII probably ate for elevenses after napping on a mound of peacock feathers”.



All you have to do is mix the whole lot together with a fork – heat if necessary. You may find it is still a bit solid, or you may prefer your mash a bit sloppier, in which case just add a bit more boiled water – but do this right at the end when you are sure of the consistency. 

There are lot of cold ingredients to include – if the mixture gets too cold, simply heat up in the microwave, or, stirring briskly, in a saucepan on the hob.