I have never made instant mashed and probably never will.
Until I was 40 or so that was my view, too.
Then I found myself with a robo-hot GF (if she wanted to eat crackers in bed I would have made a 3 AM trip to 7-11 to get some cheese for those crackers) who used them as part of her limited cooking repetoire.
Perhaps because they were associated with fabulous "desserts" I learned to
Betty Crocker's Butter & Herb instant potatos. Two decades later I still use them to accompany two of my favorite minimal prep meals: 'Kraut 'n Kielbassa
and (butcher prepped) baked stuffed pork chops
& (pan-heated) Heinz Pork Gravy
Both dishes take about five minutes to throw into the covered baking dish. Five minutes before the oven timer dings I set about using Betty Crocker
as my sous chef
As Mrs. Metro "doesn't do pork" I would feel guilty about asking her do her excellent hand-mashed potatos. Besides, the potatos in those two dishes are just media for sopping up gravy and juices. And, I can make the insty-spuds, by a predetermined formula, as stiff as I like so they will "stand-up" when I slop them into a huge pasta-dish "trough" with the meat, liquids, etc.
Either of these fine, tasty repasts are best consumed with copious Coors Light in front of a 60" Sony. The optimal environment is achieved if the Steelers
are playing and (as usual) winning!
<message edited by MetroplexJim on Tue, 12/13/11 12:20 PM>