You say potato, I say potahto: The Mashed Potato Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Everybody loves mashed potatoes. But how much do you really know about this dinnertime staple?

Potatoes are native to which continent?

Although many people associate potatoes with Europe, and they're definitely staples in countries such as Ireland and Poland, they're actually native to the Americas. Spuds weren't introduced to Europe until 1536.


In which year did Ireland's tragic potato famine occur?

The Great Irish Famine occurred in 1845 when a fungus, or blight, devastated the nation's crop. About one-third of the population perished.


Which man is considered by some to be the creator of mashed potatoes?

A Frenchman named Antoine Parmentier is said to have created mashed potatoes in 1771 after engineering a competition on ways in which to prepare potatoes, in which he won first place.


What type of potato makes great mashed potatoes?

When making mashed potatoes, the best varieties to use are Russet, Yukon Gold or Red. These types yield the creamiest, smoothest mashed potatoes.


Why are some potatoes ill-suited to mash?

Starches begin to swell at about 150°F. So, the starchiest potatoes make the fluffiest mashed 'taters. Russet and Yukon Gold have a high starch content.


How many potatoes do I need, per person, to make the right amount of mashed potatoes?

Generally speaking, 1/3- to 1/2-pound of raw potatoes will create one serving of mashed potatoes.


When preparing mashed potatoes, what's the best way to cut the potatoes?

It's best to cut the potatoes into large chunks. While they'll take a bit longer to cook than smaller pieces, they'll absorb less water, meaning you'll have fluffy (not watery) mashed potatoes.


Is it O.K. to leave the skin on when making mashed potatoes, or is that considered low-brow?

Mashed potatoes can be made with the skin on or off. If you enjoy the skin, though, cooks recommend removing most of it, leaving just a little for color and texture. Also, it's better to use thin-skinned red potatoes.


After the potatoes are sufficiently boiled, you drain the water and then …

Once the potatoes are boiled, return them to the pot and place them back on the heat for 1 to 2 minutes to remove any remaining moisture.


Can you microwave the potatoes instead of boiling them?

Yes. Microwaving the potatoes doesn't have any ill effects on the potatoes or their subsequent texture.


Can you bake the potatoes, then mash?

Yes. The benefit of baking before mashing is that you don't have to worry about water-logged potatoes. The downside is that potatoes take longer to bake than boil.


What are the two main ingredients you add to potatoes to create mashed potatoes?

Once the potatoes are boiled, you add butter and milk or cream to create fluffy mashed potatoes. Other ingredients can be added, such as chives or onion, but butter and milk or cream are essential.


Oh, no -- I'm lactose intolerant. Does that mean no more mashed potatoes for me?

You can replace the milk/cream with broth or stock, or even some of the cooking liquid. You can also try soy milk, rice milk and other milk replacements.


What kitchen tool should you avoid when mashing potatoes?

Never mash potatoes with an electric mixer. Electric mixers smash the potatoes too much, ruining the texture.


If you decide to use a potato masher, which type of masher is best?

Hand-held potato mashers with an "S" design are considered by many to be the best tool to use when mashing potatoes. Because there's a lot of space around the "S," you won't over-mash the potatoes. It's easy to over-mash with disc mashers, however.


When was the "Mashed Potato" a popular dance move?

The Mashed Potato was a popular dance craze in the early 1960s.


Who sang the hit song "Mashed Potato Time"?

The Mashed Potato dance was often performed to Dee Dee Sharp's "Mashed Potato Time," a 1962 hit.


Another hit song from that era was "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes." Who sang it?

James Brown was the main peformer of the 1960 hit song. However, due to contractual issues, his drummer at the time, Nat Kendricks, got credit for the recording.


Which is an advantage to using instant mashed potatoes?

While many people don't care for the flavor of instant mashed potatoes, and can easily tell the difference, they're less expensive than "real" potatoes, are easier to prepare and have a long shelf life.


How can I prepare instant mashed potatoes so they taste better?

Some cooks say you can make instant potatoes taste like the real thing if you use twice-diluted sweetened condensed milk for the water and a combination of once-diluted evaporated milk and chicken broth for the milk.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!