The secret to perfect mashed potatoes might start another Internet war

Mashed potatoes are a mainstay dish at most holiday dinners. Everyone loves them, and it’s a relatively easy dish to make. Unfortunately, there’s nothing worse than bad mashed potatoes. They can easily make the jump from delicious to too bland, too fluffy, too chunky, or too gummy, sometimes depending on just who you ask. There has to be a secret ingredient or step we don’t know about to make a version that everyone loves, right?

Well, according to the Huffington Post, there is. Mashed potatoes aren’t all about the potatoes. The website spoke with Sara Foster, owner of Foster’s Market in Durham, NC, who says it’s not just about how you cook them, how you mash them, and what spices you mix in with them, it’s the basic types of potatoes you use since that affects the texture the most.

Foster suggests mixing in several varieties of potatoes to get the perfect dish, recommending that you mix Yukon Gold potatoes with Russet potatoes. She also recommends mixing in sweet potatoes, parsnips and turnips.

That’s right, turnips. Apparently turnips can help you achieve the perfect amount of fluffiness while adding a unique texture and dimension to your dish. Our minds are blown, and also a little confused. Really? Turnips?

Apparently, that suggestion had some commenters on Facebook scratching their heads.

“Adding parsnips and turnips will only make your potato’s stringy and fibrous,”  wrote one commenter.  “Okay, you lost me at ‘mix in sweet potatoes, parsnips and turnips;’ … yeah, NO!,” added another.  It wasn’t long before a Facebook debate divided potato purists from those “to each his own” defenders of Foster’s suggestions. (And then there were plenty who just suggested buying the instant stuff instead.) It’s all a little reminiscent of that New York Times guacamole recipe that involved peas (yes, peas!) and set off a firestorm of foodie frustration.  Hey, we say whatever works for you and your holiday guests.

If adding turnips seems a little too experimental for your tastes, Foster also has a few other tips and suggestions to achieve the ideal mashed potatoes. It seems the way you cut your potatoes, what you mash them with, and how you soak them also affect your finished dish. Her biggest warning: never, ever use a food processor, since that’s a guarantee for a glue-y mashed potatoes.

Anyone care to debate that? We’re staying out of it.

(Image via Shutterstock)