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Taste test: refrigerated mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes in blue bowl

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Mashed potatoes in blue bowl

Ten years ago, our tasters tried refrigerated mashed potatoes and instant gravy mixes. They immediately decided to spend that Thanksgiving making gravy from scratch but heating up store-bought potatoes in the microwave oven. This week, we went back to the supermarket refrigerators to see if the mashed potatoes are as good as we remembered. It's safe to say we'll still be warming our potatoes in the microwave oven this Thanksgiving.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Publix 83Bob Evans 82Reser's Main Street Bistro 63
Judges'

comments
Even without seeing the label, judges were impressed with the ingredients in these potatoes. According to the packaging, the store brand mashers start with potatoes, half-and-half, whole milk and butter. "They are a very classic, pale white color and very creamy looking with no lumps," said one judge. "They look like something eaten on Leave It to Beaver," said another. "They are very tasty and very traditional American fare."Tasters said these restaurant-style potatoes had a "super homemade taste" that would work with a number of dishes, from turkey to seafood. "A big bowl of these and a ladle of my shrimp creole and I would be in foodie heaven," said one judge. A couple said they appreciated the flecks of black pepper in the potatoes. "They are very soft with a rich pepper flavor and not overly buttery," said a taster who said these would be her pick for the holidays.These bistro-style mashed potatoes were a bit more lumpy than the others we sampled, but judges were pleased with the added texture. "These would mix well with corn and a gravy-smothered Salisbury steak," said one judge. "They have a great, hearty taste and are very rustic and homemade looking," said another.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.99 for a 24-ounce container.$3.79 for a 24-ounce container from Publix.$3.79 for a 24-ounce container from Publix.


Also Sampled: Simply Potatoes ($3.99 for a 24-ounce container from Publix, 56 points) and Hormel Homestyle ($2.99 for a 24-ounce container from Target, 53 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving sizeHalf cupHalf cupHalf cup
Calories140150150
Fat/Fiber7g / 1g8g / 2g7g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 470mg2g / 410mg1g / 420mg
Carbs/Protein15g / 3g19g / 3g20g / 3g

Taste test: refrigerated mashed potatoes 11/16/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2015 10:57am]
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