This week check out member, Amy Plattsmier’s recipe that uses potatoes, parsnips and a food mill. Yum!

When my packrat husband, Jason, and I were slogging through the process of signing up for a wedding registry 10+ years ago, I nixed many items he wanted to include, one of them being a Williams Sonoma food mill. Not having any idea what a food mill was, I never gave the omission a second thought, that is, until I had a baby. All of the baby books with sections on making one’s own baby food extolled incessantly the virtues of the food mill, but still I stubbornly chose the back of a fork to mash freshly steamed squash or banana for my toothless child. Then, just about a year ago, our family was working and shopping at Maple Street’s tag sale when Jason gleefully jogged over to where I was rummaging through old VHS tapes and handed me a shiny metal object with a crank. It was heavy. “THIS is a food mill!” he over-excitedly exclaimed. “I don’t have space for that,” I snottily announced, handing it back and turning toward the size 4 fall clothing bin. Crestfallen, Jason whined, “Aaame, it was only 50 cents!” Needless to say, I was annoyed at hearing the past tense of that “to be” verb since it meant I had not been consulted about this impulse buy. Hadn’t I got along for this many years without this darn food mill, and couldn’t I keep getting along without it, thank you very much?

I am here, today, to tell you, emphatically, “No.” Over the past year, I have slowly but surely discovered the wonders of this old-fashioned instrument – the food mill. Yes, I have a Cuisinart food processor. Yes, I have a Kitchenaid mixer. Yes, I have a Braun magic soup wand. And, yes, of course I have a fork. Yet, my smashing and grinding capabilities have been wanting all these years, wanting, at the very least, to make perfect, yes, perfect, mashed potatoes. And what with all those potatoes from the CSA, and parsnips last week to boot, and the cold fall weather a-comin’ – well – that is just what I did. Don’t you want to, too?

Potato Parsnip Purée


* 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

* 2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

* 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 cup heavy cream (or about 3/4 C lowfat milk & a little extra butter)

* 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* Special equipment: a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with medium disk


Cover parsnips and potatoes with cold water by 1 inch in a 6- to 8-quart pot, then add 1tablespoon salt and bring to a boil, partially covered. Reduce heat and simmer vegetables, partially covered, until very tender but not falling apart, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain vegetables in a colander.

Bring cream, butter, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in the same pot over moderate heat. Force warm vegetables through ricer into cream mixture, then stir to combine well.

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