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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mashed 'Taters... Healthy-style

Being born and raised in the south, I grew up loving artery-clogging food (I'm convinced though, that this isn't isolated to just southern living). My mom cooked fairly healthy, so in general, I ate well as a kid.

It was when I visited my grandparents that I got the "good" stuff. By "good" I mean vegetables and protein prepared in lard. If you've never had homegrown and canned green beans cooked in a little bit of lard, then you are missing out. Seriously. But, don't listen to me, because this is just one of those things that you don't need to try, if you haven't.

I often hear people say things like... ohhhhh... how did people live so long from eating all that fatty, unhealthy food. Well, for one, they worked their asses off. Let's compare. I sit at my desk all day. I have a car that takes me wherever I want, whenever I want. My grandparents? They worked on farms all day. And by worked on a farm, I don't mean they rode around on a horse all day. No, no, that's hollywood farming. Working on a farm means going out and feeding the cattle, moving the cattle, walking to the barn to milk the cows twice a day and lugging the bucket of milk back to the house with you. It means grabbing eggs from the chickens and then walking a couple of miles down to the train station to hitch a ride to town to sell the eggs. It's also general maintenance and upkeep. There are fence rows to keep cleaned and fences to be repaired and tractors and trucks to repair. Oh, and don't forget about the housework. Gardens to keep up, rows to hoe, kids to watch after and feed and clean up after.

In comparison, I probably burn like 300 calories sitting at my desk working all day. My grandparents probably burned 2000 working all day. That's ONE way they kept generally healthier than us, while eating fattening food. Also, they typically ate a lot more veggies than most people today eat, I think. I mean, fresh vegetables picked from your garden... it doesn't get any better than that.

My paternal grandma used to fix the most delicious potatoes I've ever had. And by used to, I just mean that she doesn't make them anymore. For one, she doesn't grow potatoes now and two, my Aunt has sadly discovered the "instant potatoes" and buys those for my grandma to prepare now. Ugh.

You can't call them mashed potatoes, because they weren't mashed. They were, I guess technically boiled potatoes. But, instead of being boiled in water, they were boiled in lard. I know, you're gagging right now. Lard does sound disgusting, I know, I know. But, dude, it's delicious. Trust me. So, it turned into this almost potato soup. There would be chunks of potatoes and a starchy, lardy broth that got ladled into your plate as well. She grew her own potatoes, which made them about 100% better (and impossible to replicate, you could taste the soil-y, earthiness in these potatoes). If I were able to travel back into time and eat anything... these potatoes would be it. Along with biscuits and gravy prepared by my maternal grandma (also prepared with lard).

I don't have a travel machine, though. And I do try to eat a little healthier than my grandparents did. Remember... desk job. And while I can still taste my grandmas potatoes in memories, I know that I'll never taste them for real, again.

Mashed potatoes are good, too. But, they are good with butter and cream and tons of salt. Not as bad as lard infused potatoes, but still... not allowed in Amy's daily diet. But, I love mashed potatoes. So, what's a girl to do?

Make them healthier!

Healthier Mashed Potatoes!


Potatoes (any kind will do, I used baby red potatoes and left the peels on this time around).
Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Light Sour Cream

Cut up and boil your potatoes till fork tender. Drain them and put them back into the pot over the burner, adjusting the temperature to low heat. Mash the potatoes in the pan so that any remaining liquid from the potatoes will evaporate. Next add a little chicken broth to the potatoes, to get the consistency that you like. Make sure you let that cook for a second to heat the broth up (particularly if you just pulled your broth from the fridge like me). Add as much sour cream as you like to get the creamy consistency that you want and add enough salt to make you happy (like a gazillion tbsps for me).

And voila! Tasty, healthy mashed potatoes that will comfort you on a bad day.

Serve with The Chex Chicken and some green beans or Turnip Greens and you've got yourself a healthy, southern meal that will make you slap your momma! Yum!

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