On Saturday Cole hosted a mashed potato tasting to collect data for his science project, HEAVENLY MASH – The perfect method for mashing potatoes. He prepared the same recipe four times using four different tools for mashing to determine which produces the most pleasing textured potatoes and to see if the texture has a an effect on the perception of the taste.

Friends, family and neighbors gathered to taste and rate the samples. All in all about thirty people tasted four different versions of mash and completed a short survey. The support was tremendous. The afternoon was fun.

The results are still under analysis but it looks like the version pushed through a ricer is the winner, which supports his hypothesis. The science competition is in February so there’s time to create the trifold with all of the details, data and photographs. He’s working on graphing the surveys right now.

While the experiment is somewhat subjective, it’s been great fun to see him working through everything and preparing for the tasting. His interest in both science and cooking are both serving him well with this project. I love it when he’s engaged in something like this and is enthusiastic about working on it and talking about it.

I know he’d like to win again. The whole experience of moving forward to the LA County Science Fair last year is still something he’s tremendously proud of, as am I. I’d be happy to him to have that success again, but I’m also very proud of the focus he’s shown in creating an experiment that is meaningful to him, and exercises both his science chops and creativity.

This is the recipe we created for his Heavenly Mash:

5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
¾ cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt for boiling water

1. Place peeled and quartered potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.
2. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt to the water and potatoes.
3. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer until potatoes are fork tender – approximately 20 minutes.
4. Drain potatoes in a colander.
5. Return them to the still warm pot so they can dry out a bit.
6. Meanwhile, gently warm the milk and melt the butter together in a small saucepan.
7. Gently press the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl.
8. Add the warm milk & butter mixture, along with the salt & pepper, and gently incorporate it into the potato

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