How I Conquered My Phobia of Instant Mashed Potatoes

At some point in my childhood, I learned to look at certain foods with a critical, disapproving eye.

Margarine was a thing to be abhorred. Miracle Whip was an odd relative of the mayonnaise I preferred. But nothing was quite so bizarre and unpleasant to me as instant mashed potatoes.

vintage instant mashed potato ad

Now I don’t think my family really had anything against instant mashed potatoes, but they were never a product that we had in the house and I always felt that they were something to be sneered at.

After all, making actual mashed potatoes isn’t that hard! Peel a few potatoes, boil the heck out of them for a half-hour or so, mash them up and enjoy!

Why on earth would anyone want to pay extra money to make a side dish consisting of dried-out flakes of processed potato when real potatoes were so cheap and easy to prepare?

Even after I had grown to adulthood, I remained determined to never use such a strange and unnecessary product.

Then I had a fun-loving, high-energy boy. And then I had another one. And then I started a blog. And the prep-time I put into dinner started to dwindle more and more.

When my husband came home from grocery shopping one day with a box of instant mashed potatoes, I suddenly realized that I had virtually stopped making mashed potatoes as a side dish. Rice and pasta were just so much easier!

At that moment, I decided to throw caution to the wind and see what those little potato flakes were all about. I followed the instructions, pushed aside all my reservations and made my first-ever pot of instant mashed potatoes.

And you know what?

After going to bed at two in the morning, getting up again at seven, feeding and dressing children, packing lunches, playing games, answering emails, planning blog posts, picking people up, dropping people off, washing dishes, cleaning up toys AND making dinner for my family at the end of it all…I actually found that those instant mashed potatoes tasted pretty darn fabulous!

Even if it’s just a different food, why not try something new today? You may end up pleasantly surprised by something you were convinced would be gross!

8 thoughts on “How I Conquered My Phobia of Instant Mashed Potatoes”

  1. I am totally up for trying new things, but I think instant mashed potatoes are one thing I will not add to the menu :) Of course, I am only cooking for a household of 3. I try to limit the processed foods we consume at home, and as a full time worker, that isn’t always easy! Planning ahead saves me in this respect, but I resort to packaged items occasionally. I do use Margarine, though I am picky about which kind!

    1. lol! That’s too funny, Alex, because margarine is the one thing I won’t add to the menu! :) I REALLY need to figure out this whole “planning ahead” thing you speak of, I’ve heard such good things from people about it. And I totally agree, I try to keep our diet filled with less processed food, but I resort to packaged items sometimes, more than I’d like to, in fact… I have got to get a menu-planning system figured out!

      1. I cook up a storm on the weekends, and have started freezer cooking, too. I pre-chop veggies for snacks and if I make too much of something, I freeze a portion in an individual serving I can pop out to defrost over night next week. It helps a lot.

        1. You ROCK Alex! Thank you so much for the tips! Freezer cooking is something I have done now and again; I always seem to forget about it for long periods of time, but it really is SO convenient! I think it’s time to pull out the cookbooks and start doing some planning! :)

  2. Kathryn,
    I had to laugh when I read your blog because it sounded a lot like me. It is rare that I make instant mashed potatoes as a side dish, real potatoes are where it is at. Now, I use instant mashed potatoes as a thickener in soups when necessary. If you ever decide to use this technique, I would just advise that you start out with adding just a little. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that you can always add more but you can’t remove too much.
    Best of luck,

    1. What a GREAT idea, Deidra! I totally agree, real potatoes are where it’s at for sure. :) But using it as a thickener sounds incredibly clever. I’m pretty good at thickening with flour, but there’s always the odd time I don’t take enough care and end up with flour lumps in my soup; this seems like a great alternative! Thanks for the tip!

  3. LOL thanks for the morning laugh! I love your last paragraph!
    I’m not a fan of instant mashed potatoes, never have been, but the funny story is when my hubby and I were first dating, he made me a roast beef dinner. The potatoes tasted abnormally smooth and I thought they were instant – he was so upset when I suggested that he had made instant potatoes! I guess my Mom never learned the trick to whipped mashed potatoes!

    1. Tee hee! My mom never did either, but my dad was really good at making smooth mashed potatoes…your poor hubby! lol I’ve heard of the whipping trick but I’ve never really tried it; I may have to give it a go one of these days!

      I’m still not crazy about instant potatoes compared to regular, but watching my boys polish them off and thinking about how they only took a minute to make totally made them taste SO much better! lol

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