What Did I Ever Do Without You?

Presse-Purée

I recently had an epiphany. No, not that kind, it was a cooking utensil epiphany: I suddenly realized how badly I needed a potato masher.

In just a few weeks, I had repeatedly found myself in the painful situation of having to puree things without a self-respecting tool, resorting to the use of a simple fork and expending large amounts of precious energy, to pitiful results. Enough was enough, and as soon as I found myself in the vicinity of my favorite kitchen supply stores, I bought myself a beautiful old-fashioned presse-purée with a wooden handle. A downright splurge, at 3.52 € a pop.

This little guy has already earned its keep by perfectly mashing a simple soup the other day, producing the exact chunk-to-mash ratio I wanted, after just a minute of a gentle and strangely soothing gesture. My quality of life has just been raised a notch. Oh, and did you know they found utensils just like this one in Egyptian tombs? Well, they did.

~~~

On another note, I am honored to be the January Featured Blogger on the Is My Blog Burning? website: read my interview here!

On another note (bis), I am snugly between Claudine and Chika on Book 3 of the 1000 Recipes project! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Click here to find out (and sign up).

On another note (ter), today is Maxence’s birthday: Joyeux Anniversaire mon chéri!

  • Alisa

    Ahh, I have one just like it. It is such a good thing.

  • Alisa

    Just read the Featured Blogger article. It is charming and wonderful.
    Found this comment from your previous post:
    Clotilde, congratulations! Your blog always reminds me to appreciate the details that make for a richer experience, in the culinary sense and beyond. All the awards are well-deserved.
    Posted by Candy at January 8, 2005 11:16 PM

    This must be committed to memory-. It is the most concise, literary explanation of my feelings about C&Z.

  • http://www.lovesicily.com Ronald

    The honour is very much all ours Clotilde – thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.

  • http://shewhoeats.blogspot.com/ chika

    Hi Clotilde,

    I am really excited to be (likely) the first person who can *actually* check out what you have added to the Book :)

    Happy Birthday Maxence!

  • erin

    When my husband and I were dating, I cooked dinner at his house. He had a jagged knife, a metal spoon and something resembling a spatula. I had to mash the yukon golds with a mug.

  • http://www.himonkey.net monkey

    happy happy happy birthday maxence! i look forward to hearing about the birthday celebrations.

    congratulations clotilde on your potato masher. i hope you two will be very happy together. i hope that potato brush is not jealous of a new potato related kitchen implement. she seems more like the type to take the masher under her bristles and show him the ropes.

  • robin

    Hi Clotilde,

    That was a charming interview.

    And it puts you right in the tradition of wonderful cooks who had never ventured into the kitchens of their food- famous countries before moving abroad awakened their taste buds and their food passions. Madhur Jaffrey writes about learning how to cook from airmailed recipes as a flavour-starved student in London, Marcella Hazan as a new wife in American who did not even know how to boil water for pasta.
    But neither of them allowed us to participate in their daily adventures and kitchen diaries the way you do. Thank you.

    And Happy Birthday Maxence!

  • Laura

    My mom mashes potatoes with an electric mixer, but my husband is adamant about using a masher, and it is much more satisfying. You can also use the potato masher to mix up orange juice from frozen concentrate when you don’t have time to let the concentrate thaw–although I suspect France is a nation blissfully free of frozen-concentrated orange juice.

    Bonne Anniversaire Maxence!

  • Barbara

    I have been searching second hand stores and markets for an old fashioned wooden handled potato masher – they are much nicer than the modern plastic jobs. Now I know I can get one on my next trip to Paris I can relax.

    I’m honoured to be included in the 1000 recipe book with you Clotilde.

    …..and Happy Birthday Maxence.

  • joan

    Bestest of B’day Wishes for the B’d Boy! and as to the potato masher ~ imagine “The History of the Masher”…Egypt! who would have guessed. I’m left wondering what would have been mashed….any Egyptian history fanatics out there?

    Clotilde ~ are you up in the clouds and firmly planted on earth at the same time? If anyone can, it would be you!

  • Del

    Hello All,

    I inherited the utensils of my grandmother’s kitchen when she died twenty three years ago. Among the many tools she used was her potato masher, made from stainless steel with a wooden handle. I do not eat mashed potatoes but came to appreciate the potato masher recently when my electricity went out because of an ice storm. I had to make a cake that day and was determined to finish it, even without electricity. The potato masher saved the day, allowing me to make a passable frosting with not too much energy.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog

  • laura floyd

    I have been looking for a good masher for ages. Do you have any recommendations on where I could buy a good one online? I am jealous of your presse-purée, and cannot find one available on the web anywhere :)

  • nina

    Finally a hand masher that looks like it actually intends to fully mash… the one i inherited has much larger oval holes (and a plastic handle!) so the potato chunks and sticks, rather than smoothly mashing. and i always tend to over mash with the electric beater – makes it all elastic and gross. thanks for the pic, now i know what to look for.

  • http://scentofgreenbananas.blogspot.com santos

    hello clotilde!

    thank you for once again mentioning 1000–we might actually get 1000 recipes sooner than i had imagined!

    i love how you are wielding that potato masher like a weapon.

    happy birthday, maxence! may you never be on the wrong end of that masher stick.

  • Adele

    What a coincidence! When I was making a ragu bolognese the other night and wanted to break up the clumps of meat, I reached for my handy OXO potato masher. It’s tried and true for great mashed potatoes — after various attempts with a potato ricer, food processor and hand mixer, I always go back to my masher.

    Happy Birthday, Maxence!

  • Mats

    It’s funny to see you getting a potato masher (something I’ve had since the beginning of time) and me switching to a “French Style” ricer! http://www.kitchenemporium.com/cgi-bin/kitchen/prod/18vw458.html

  • Jessie

    Mashing potatoes with a masher is cathartic, or it is when mashed potatoes are your favourite food.

    They are mine in spite of being raised on the instant sort…

    Years back a doting boyfriend stocked the kitchen with what I figured was an obsolete machine and regularly prepared smashed spuds from scratch. He said there was no excuse for the box method.

    My new epicurean man, like you, only recently acquired a masher. It was a gift from the enlightened me. He mashes the potatoes up with anchovies and wonders at the wonder of the tool…as do I! It’s now hanging, proudly displayed, on the wall.

    Squish the fish and pound and tear the pommes de terre!!

  • Nat

    What you’re holding is called a potato ricer… a potato masher can look like that but with larger, oval holes, or can be made of thick wire. Like potato mashers, potato ricers are usually used to make mashed potatoes.

  • http://myfoodbox.blogspot.com lili63

    meme presse purée (photo à l’appui)
    montmartre est egalement mon village
    et meme difficulté à faire ou defaire le gateau piège d’apres ce que j’ai compris …
    J’ai meme cité ton blog sur un post concernant Kéda Black que tu connais,il me semble .
    Mais je suis beaucoup plus “jeune” que toi dans le monde des food blog et aimerais beaucoup arriver à ta maitrise des photos culinaires . :°)

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