Recipe 20: Shortcut Cooking’s Cottage Mashed Potatoes (1969)

We have turned our shelter-in-place requirement into a game to see how long we can go without going to the actual grocery store. We are allowed to purchase things sold at my job at a chain retail pharmacy (because I have to go to work anyway, so I’m not making a special trip). Otherwise, we have to use what we have at home. As a result, some of the upcoming recipes will be…creative until I break down and return to normal.

(The main reason I am doing this is our local grocery store has arrows on the floor directing the flow of traffic down the aisle that everyone I encounter says are confusing. I would rather eat dishes like this one I just made than have to wander around a grocery store getting in trouble for driving my cart down the wrong side of an aisle. Life is awkward enough as it is for me…)

The recipe I selected came out of a mini-cookbook called Shortcut Cooking published by Meredith Corporation in 1969.

Hey, wait a minute. Is that this week’s recipe hiding in the bottom right corner?

I had no idea who Meredith Corporation was (is) and had to do some research. Why was this company publishing this cookbook? Well, they are kind of a big deal. This is the company that publishes Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Real Simple, Southern Living…perhaps you have heard of them?

Knowing this, I assumed there was no way this recipe could go wrong. I mean, this was published by the Better Homes and Gardens people! It has to be good!

There is a reason that I can find scant evidence of this exact recipe online, as you will see below.

The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

Instant mashed or whipped potatoes (enough for 4 servings)

1½ tablespoons instand minced onion

1 cup large-curd cream-style cottage cheese

Directions:

Decreasing water by ½ cup, prepare instant potatoes according to package directions, but adding instant onion to boiling water before adding potatoes. With fork, fold in cheese. Turn into 1-quart casserole. Dot wtih butter; sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. makes 4 or 5 servings.

The first step is to prepare the instant potatoes according to directions on the package.

This step will vary according to the product used, but I did omit ½ a cup of water from the original recipe. I was disappointed by the end result of the potatoes but hoped that the addition of the cottage cheese would improve the texture.

Nope. That was wishful thinking.

Following that, pour the potatoes into a 1-quart dish…

…dot with butter….

…sprinkle with paprika…

…bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and hope against all hope that somehow the potatoes will come together and be creamy when they emerge from the oven.

Ha ha.

These were the driest potatoes I have ever made. I promise, I followed the directions explicitly, and yet they were STILL sand-like in texture. My husband, being kind, said that they tasted like twice-baked potatoes. They did not. I guess my expectation did not match reality for this recipe. I envisioned the potatoes being creamy, cheesy, and buttery, but instead they were just…dry and bland. Ugh.

Time Travel Experience: The cookbook felt very 1960s and 1970s (I mean, look at the cover), and as a kid we had add-water potatoes when we were short on time…but those really about the only retro parts of this week’s experiment. The instant potatoes I had in the 1990s were much better than this. This hardly evoked warm childhood memories.

Overall Experience: Meh. At least I didn’t have to go to the grocery store!

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