In the ’70s, before we went all continental and adopted pasta and rice, potatoes were Britain’s staple carbohydrate.
Most of us ate them every day in one form or another, whether it was creamed or mashed, boiled, roasted or good old chips. We even scoffed down tinned spuds with gusto. Which were disgusting, soapy and slimy, nothing like fresh potato. Grim.
Pasta is still cheap but rice prices are sky high. You can buy kilo of supermarket ‘value’ potatoes for about 70p and unwashed spuds are often even cheaper, especially at the market. Buy in bulk and they cost even less. So it’s well worth reviving Britain’s traditional spud habit if you want to save money on meals.
You can’t go far wrong with mash. It’s genuinely cheap food, it’s good for you and there are all sorts of ways to tart it up.
Pimp my mash – Mix in…
- a good squirt of tomato puree for a bright red, deliciously tomatoey treat
- a teaspoon or two of pesto for bog standard spud with an exciting Italian slant
- pepper, salt and butter - plain, simple and irresistible
- cheese ‘bombs’ – add 1 inch cubes of cheese, mix in then microwave your mash so the cheese melts into yummy bombs that explode softly in your mouth. Mmmm
- lightly fried onion for a piquant taste and pleasing texture
- garlic puree, as cheap as chips
- baked beans – great for kids, who love the taste combination. You can leave the beans whole or mash them
- English mustard, for mash with a deceptively fragrant kick. Bring on the mustard burn: searing heat in the nostrils followed by waves of a very peculiar sharp sensation across the back of your skull. Crikey!
- dried mixed herbs – mix them with butter first to release the flavour and soften them. Otherwise it’s like eating twigs
- add peas, carrots, cabbage, spinach, whatever veg you like, and mash them in with butter, salt and pepper
You can also make gorgeous Bubble and Squeak by mixing leftovers with mash and frying or baking it.