CRESTVIEW — When Colleen Barrett's mother, Diana Weeks, experimented with the family's mashed potatoes, Barrett raised a fuss.
"I was the mashed potato kid and I loved my mashed potatoes," Barrett said. "My mom made these weird mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and I loudly protested. But it was a hit and that's all we make now."
The family recipe was also a hit with Just a Pinch Recipes, a social network for home cooks. Barrett had posted the recipe almost a year ago, and recently was surprised to discover it had won a blue ribbon.
"Blue ribbons are awarded to recipes that prove themselves outstanding," Just a Pinch spokeswoman Annakate Ross stated in an email.
All recipes submitted to the website are eligible for the award. The site currently contains more than 130,000 recipes. Janet Tharpe, the site’s food editor, and her crew prepare the top contenders.
"The technical considerations are creativity, taste, ease of preparation and originality," Ross stated. "Only about 2 percent of all the recipes on the site have received this honor."
A family tradition
Barrett's daughter, Marti, was a toddler in the 1980s when her grandmother first served the blue ribbon-winning mashed potatoes.
Now married and living in Maryland, Marti Woodlawn makes the same mashed potatoes for her family, Barrett said.
"She's also very innovative in the kitchen," Barrett said. "She'll call up and tell me about something awesome she made and how the whole family loves it. I said, 'That's because you're a girl after my own heart. You come from a long line of good cooks, kiddo.'"
Four generations of women enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, Barrett said.
"I'm always coming up with stuff that I just put together," Barrett said. "My grandmother is still alive and she's still cooking. She's a wonderful cook. She makes the best apple pie on this earth."
Barrett said her husband Michael's favorite meal is Thanksgiving dinner, which is her favorite meal to prepare.
Of course, Mom's Deluxe Mashed Potatoes join the turkey, ham, and other dishes on the table.
"They're very satisfying. It's fulfilling. The flavor is awesome," Barrett said. "We do it at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter — any excuse we have. The kids are always asking for the 'special mashed potatoes.' Our grandkids are growing up on them, too."
Want to try it?
Colleen Barrett shares her mother's Deluxe Mashed Potatoes recipe.
3 pounds potatoes, peeled
10 cups chicken broth or bouillon
15-20 baby carrots (or 4 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon dill weed
3/4 cup sour cream (start with 1/2 cup and add as needed)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1. Boil potatoes in broth on medium high for 15 minutes. Add carrots and onion and boil 20 more minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain in colander; let cool 3-4 minutes.
2. Place cooked vegetables in large bowl or back into pot to mash. Add dill, sour cream, parsley, butter, salt and pepper and mash again.
3. Place mashed vegetables in a greased 2-quart casserole dish, dot with an additional tablespoon of butter or margarine and bake (covered) at 325 degrees for one hour.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.