The moth-eaten parchment fragment fell from the false lid of the blackened old cedar chest, its letters atrophied, its ink faded. Curious, I reached for it, and thought for a moment that I saw black sparks fly from the fragment as my fingers touched it.
It took me years to translate it from Ugaritic. I finished the task at midnight on a moonless night. As I wrote the last word, the door suddenly slammed shut, and an icy wind blew across my neck, and I thought I heard maniacal laughter echoing through the halls. I pulled my coat tighter, and began to read.
10 lbs potatoes
1 lb carrots
4 stalks of celery
4 parsnips, if desired
4 medium onions
2-4 cloves garlic (or 2-4 tsp chopped garlic in oil)
24 oz crema mexicana
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Peel the carrots and halve them; ditto parsnips. Chop the celery into small pieces. (You’ll want to more or less obliterate the celery, otherwise it doesn’t mash well.) In a big pot, boil the potatoes, carrots, celery, and parsnips together until the potatoes are soft and starting to come apart if mixed. Drain them carefully, using a wooden spoon and the pan, not a colander (they won’t survive a colander). This will leave some water in the pot, which is fine.
At the same time, in a separate frying pan, melt butter. Add the garlic, plus the onions, chopped finely. Brown on medium heat till browned; then lower heat and continue to brown another 5-10 minutes. You want the onions to be almost a paste. (But you don’t want to boil them, because you’ll lose flavor that way.) Once the onions are almost dissolved, add a quarter cup of water or wine to the pan. This will blend with the onion/garlic mix and the toasted butter to make a very tasty brown sauce. Add another quarter cup. Let it simmer for a minute.
Mash the potatoes slightly with a masher or spoon. Add cream to the potatoes, and stir. Add onion mix to the potatoes, and stir in.
Add additional spices and salt to taste. (I usually end up adding a few teaspoons of garlic salt and of Landry’s garlic/herbs mix.)
The fragment, amazingly enough, was a mashed potato recipe! And immediately after the recipe, the following curious text:
These are the Devil’s Mashed Potatoes. To the righteous, they will taste of silt and ashes. But to the wicked, they will be sweeter than Heaven’s own nectar.
Scratching my chin, I headed towards the kitchen.
Personally, I don’t put much stock in silly superstitions. I’ve tried the recipe myself, and they’re delicious. I even brought them to the ward party, where they were quite the hit.
You should try them some time. Let me know if you like them.