Step 1Cook potatoes by either boiling or steaming:
Step 2To boil, in heavy saucepan with tight-fitting lid, cook potatoes in about 1 inch boiling, salted water until fork-tender. If whole, cook 30 to 40 minutes; if cut up, 20 to 25 minutes. If lid doesnt fit tightly, water may boil away. Check occasionally and add more water if necessary.
Step 3To steam, place wire rack on bottom of kettle or large saucepan and add water to just below level of rack. Bring water to boil, add potatoes and cook, tightly covered, until fork-tender. If whole, cook 30 to 45 minutes; if cut up, 20 to 30 minutes. If lid is not tight-fitting, check occasionally to see if water should be added.
Step 4Peel potatoes (this can also be done before cooking). Use potato masher, electric mixer or ricer to mash potatoes.
Step 5With potato masher, press tool into potatoes in downward motion, forcing potatoes through cutting grid. With electric mixer, begin by mashing potatoes slightly with stationary beaters. Turn mixer on low speed and whip to desired consistency. With ricer, place boiled potatoes in perforated cylinder, then squeeze long handles together to force contents through ricer holes. Let rice-like pieces mound in serving dish.
Step 6Beating with mixer or wooden spoon, gradually add heated milk, evaporated milk, half-and-half or whipping cream, according to taste, until light and fluffy. Potatoes will be creamier and thinner if more liquid is used. Finish with softened butter or margarine to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 7Serve immediately or spoon into greased casserole and smooth light film of cream over top. Keep warm in oven heated to 250 degrees. Cover with towel to absorb steam.