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Do your mashed potatoes suck? Here's how you fix it.(Photo: Mark Shaw.)

Memorizing this basic formula for perfect mashed potatoes will make you want to practice your roast beef. And maybe perfect the crust on those delicious grilled lamb chops or learn Marcus Samuelsson’s signature Swedish meatball recipe. And probably encourage you to roast a chicken, which actually takes slightly less effort than making mashed potatoes.

Russets make flavorful, fluffy and above all absorbent mashed potatoes thanks to their high starch content. Hello, butter and gravy! Say what you want about perfectly smooth mashed potatoes, the real deal is mashed and fluffed up by hand.

Sides that love a smear of mashed potato on them: