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Being in the military, I host a variety of different people for every holiday. A few years ago, a friend of mine told me, "I've got the mashed potatoes." Sure enough, these are the best mashed potatoes I've ever had, and easy to make ahead of time during those holidays when your oven is heavily in use.
- Put potatoes in a large sauce pan and add water to cover.
- Salt the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cover partially.
- Cook potatoes, stirring once or twice, until very tender, about 40 minutes.
- Return the potatoes to the pan and place over medium heat (it cooks off extra moisture in the potatoes and makes them absorb the milk and butter better).
- With a potato masher or hand mixer, mash potatoes thoroughly.
- With a wooden spoon, fold the butter into the potatoes 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring briskly after each addition.
- Gradually stir in the hot milk.
- Stir in the season salt to taste.
- Refridgerate the potatoes in an airtight container until about an hour and a half before serving.
- Preheat oven to 350 (if oven is on a different temperature due to another dish it's fine, just check on the potatoes frequently to prevent drying out).
- Place potatoes in a covered casserole dish and place in the preheated oven until heated thoroughly, about an hour.