RE: Mashed Potatoes-How Do You Like Them and etc.
I rarely eat plain, mashed potatoes, but make twice-baked potatoes instead, which are really just mashed potatoes stuffed back into the shell of the potato.
It's a little work, so do several at a time, about six medium, red potatoes, wrap each potato in aluminum foil, bake in 350 oven until soft to touch (about 45 min-1 hr).
While the potatoes are baking, in a metal mixing bowl set on top of oven, add 1 stick of butter, and about 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese(butter should be melted by the time potatoes are cooked).
When the potatoes are done, hold each in a potholder, and cut a circle around top, lifting gently. Skim the red outer layer from the top of the potato and add the tops to the mixing bowl. Take a paring knife and cut around the edges of each potato, leaving about a 1/2" ridge. After using the paring knife to mark the outer area, I use a grapefruit spoon to scoop the potatoes out, but you need to be careful not to cut through that rim. Use warm milk, a little at a time, and mash, with salt and pepper to taste. I find it needs lots of salt to have any taste, and may just be my imagination, but the mixture doesn't get as lumpy, if you use milk that's been heated a little to get the chill off it.
After the potatoes are stuffed, garnish each top with more grated cheddar. They are cooked already, so when you go to serve them, just warm them on a low oven about 30 minutes. All you are really doing is heating them through and melting the cheese on top.
I think the secret is lots of cheese, salt, and warm milk. If you have young children and they don't like the sight of the black pepper, you can substitute white pepper.