Continuing with the French Theme…

And by what name is mashed potato known by that fount of the fanciful and practical, Mrs Beeton?

‘Puree de Pommes de Terre (or, Very Thin-Mashed Potatoes)’

Gotta love her.  She can turn the simplest and most unexciting of dishes into a must-tryable delight with a sprinkling of French.


INGREDIENTS – To every lb. of mashed potatoes allow 1/4 pint of good broth or stock, 2 oz. of butter.


I don’t know what it is with Mrs Beeton and butter.  Everything seems to require a liberal splodge of deliciously creamy lemon-tinted fat before it can be pronounced worthy of the dinner table.  In the interests of not denting our bathroom scales, I’ve found myself rebelling more and more often by slightly reducing the quantity in many (though not all) Household Management dishes.

The trick with this dish is getting the quantity of liquid just right.  Mrs Beeton seems to indicate that there’s a difference between regular mashed potatoes and this potato puree – namely, that the latter ought to be ”very thin[ly] mashed”.  After boiling the potatoes, the broth is supposed to be added immediately before attacking the white mountain with a masher.

As I began to mash, I couldn’t see any difference in consistency between this and the regular mashed potatoes, so I found myself adding a little more liquid (nearly double to stated quantity, in fact) before I was satisfied it was at least somewhat thinner than regular mashed potatoes.

Even on the plate, there is little visual difference.  The variation lies more in the mouth, with this version’s smoother, more buttery (eek!) taste.

This is a very nice dish, although I can’t see it being too out of the ordinary, aside from the tantalizingly posh title.   But it’s a nicely posh way of impressing dinner guests: “Oh, it’s nothing special, just a little something I whipped up.  Who would like to try the poulet with Puree de Pommes de Terre, accompanied by a swirl of jus?”


Puree de Pommes de Terre (or, Very Thin-Mashed Potatoes) (Recipe 1146):


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