Why does everything need to be so complicated?
I’m not a drama queen. Really, I’m NOT.
But why can’t I just have plain potatoes in my mashed potatoes?
Mashed potatoes should be a no-brainer, but turns out one cannot just reasonably assume that they’re okay to eat, so my question is…
Why — if I want to be a responsible person, a caring person, and a vegan to boot — do I have to be constantly thinking and researching sustainability, social justice, environmental issues, sustainability issues, the plight of baby orangutans, as well as migrant workers , and so on, and so on….it’s driving me crazy — if I just want some f***g mashed potatoes???
I just want some potatoes, I don’t want the drama!
BTW, what inspired this rant and this recipe was my recent visit to IKEA, and eating a meal of vegan meatballs with mashed potatoes — as well as checking out the list of ingredients on the package of frozen mashed potatoes sold in their stores. You can read my ramblings on this topic if you wish in another post HERE, or you can simply proceed to the recipe and use it the next time you want to prepare mashed potatoes to accompany your meal.
If you cannot read the list of ingredients and understand a word of what it says, that’s because the package comes from Ikea Poland — and the ingredient list besides the usual suspects (potatoes), also includes milk, butter, and whey protein, as well as coconut oil and palm oil. I believe that mashed potatoes served in their restaurants along with their vegan meatballs feature the same ingredients — which makes the vegan meal into a not-vegan meal, quite ironic, when you think about it (vegan meatballs, but not-vegan mashed potatoes!).
Note: I did checked on Ikea’s website — and they do claim that their palm oil is sourced from sustainable production, and I have no reason to doubt that claim. Why am I being difficult then? First of all, I worry that part of the so-called sustainable palm oil production is just green-washing; but also, on top of that there are sources that point to other troublesome issues, like the plight of migrant workers and children.
So here is the thing — I don’t want to be thinking and worrying about global issues, including social justice and environmental crisis, when eating a plate of plain mashed potatoes.
Sustainable or not, the point is that we actually DON’T NEED palm oil (or cow’s milk and butter), as there are many other appropriate (and less questionable) ingredients that we can use.
Sustainable or not, why don’t we just let potatoes be potatoes, and leave Indonesian forests (and the local cows while we’re at it) out of it!
And if you tell me — that this type of criticism is what gives vegans a bad rap, and why we can’t we ever shut up and just have our french fries instead, or whatever it is that our little vegan hearts desire; and besides there still may be serious issues with the production of potatoes — environmental (surely some herbicides and pesticides had been used), or labor issues (people not getting paid well enough, migrant workers working for peanuts), etc., even if the potatoes came from my own country and were grown organically — and doesn’t this type of nit-picking lead to starvation and annihilation of the entire human race, and where does one draw the line of what’s acceptable and not acceptable to eat –…
…– to that I say I don’t know, and I’m not really sure — except that I wish things were easy and simple — and the recipe below is all that — it’s EASY to prepare, and if you buy your potatoes from a local source, it shouldn’t raise a whole lot of questions about environmental crisis, social justice, and animal rights.
I guess the critics are right — we cannot solve all the issues; no matter how hard we try, we cannot save the world and the animals. Heck — we cannot even save ourselves — we are all going to DIE! — but does that mean that we do nothing? or do whatever?
Does that mean that we stop caring?
Shouldn’t we at least TRY?
Do what we can? DO OUR BEST?
Like, say HELL-NO! to exploitation in their most BRUTAL forms (like the exploitation of farmed animals – by going vegan); and say HELL-NO! to environmental destruction in their most DEVASTATING forms (like avoiding products with palm oil).
Yes, that won’t solve all the issues, but it’s a move in the right direction. And if you can be doing more, then by all means –DO MORE!
But please, don’t do less.
Don’t close your eyes to look the other way, pretending you don’t see it.
So here it is, without further ado:
Say HELL-NO! to Palm Oil: Mashed Potatoes Recipe
So, at the risk of sounding silly, I’m giving you today a Compassionate Mashed Potatoes Recipe.
What You’ll Need
- One – human with determination to do the right thing – YOU
- An ounce of caring
- A pound of compassion
- 2 pounds or 1 kilo of potatoes, peeled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- A few tablespoons of unsweetened plant milk (optional)
- Fresh dill, chopped (optional)
Cut potatoes into about 1 1/2 inch chunks. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt into the water. Cover and bring to a boil.
While they are boiling, read a about burning Indonesian forests, with photos of big eyed orangutan mother with a baby – who now don’t have a home (google it or find it here and here) to strengthen your resolve, and maybe even take a few extra minutes to share those via Facebook or Twitter or old-fashioned email – whatever other medium of communication you like to use (calling a friend to tell them about that will work too.)
Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain potatoes into another pot, reserving the water, then place back in the pot. Do a preliminary mash with a potato masher adding back some of the water, just to get them broken up.
Add milk (remember, always use unsweetened milk, and plant milk only), oil, salt and pepper and mash until fluffy. You may want to add a bit more milk, if needed.
Alternatively, what I often do — to make a version of mashed potatoes that’s totally FAT FREE and doesn’t use milk (I’m often running out) – is when I strain them, I keep some of the water, and then I mash the potatoes by adding BACK water gradually — to desired consistency. Add dill, salt, and pepper to taste.
Always use unsweetened milk. Even regular soy milk or almond milk have a sweetener and that can give mashed potatoes an “off” taste, so, make sure it says “unsweetened” on the package.
Vegan recipes often call for vegan butter. I prefer to use olive oil.
Also, never boil the potatoes. Instead, once the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Mash the potatoes once they are fork tender, if the potatoes are falling apart then they have been cooking for too long.
Choose organic potatoes, if available, because the taste of conventional potatoes just does not compare.
PS. I do want things to be simple. I want potatoes to just be potatoes. I don’t want to be facing moral dilemmas when I’m eating mashed potatoes. I don’t want to have to ask million questions when ordering a simple dish of potatoes.
Say HELL-NO! Revolution is coming.
Say HELL-YES! to Eating and Living Like You Care!
Say HELL-YES! to Eating and Living Like You Give a Damn!
Let’s change the world TOGETHER, SOONER rather than later!
If not now, then when?
If not us then who?
P.P.S. Join me for the upcoming ‘Say HELL-NO! Revolution & 30 Day Challenge’ and say HELL-YES! to Eating and Living Like You Give a Damn! Sign up here: