A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 28, 2010
Smashed Potatoes

"Smashed potatoes” was, originally, another way of saying “mashed potatoes.” The term “smashed potatoes” has been cited in print since at least 1859. The books Maine Lingo (1975) and Family Words (1998) indicate that “smashed potatoes” and “mashed potatoes.” The French statesman Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) used the term “smashed potatoes” while ordering in an American restaurant. Several children’s books have used “smashed potatoes” for “mashed potatoes.”

August-September 1921’s American Cookery magazine contained the following: “A favorite method of cooking potatoes was to boil them until they were a soggy mess, drain off the water and mix the potatoes with lard. These were called ‘smashed potatoes.’” There is little other documentary evidence, however, for this version of “smashed potatoes.”

A different kind of “smashed potatoes” became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, being served in Europe and becoming a signature dish at the chain restaurant Houlihan’s. “Smashed potatoes” often have the skins left on and are smashed with a fork (not whipped with an electric mixer), resulting in a lumpier, more textured potato dish. Butter and oil are often added. Television chef Rachael Ray further popularized “smashed potatoes” in the 2000s.


wiseGEEK
What are Smashed Potatoes?
Smashed potatoes are a hearty variant on the more well known mashed potatoes. One clear difference is that smashed potatoes are generally prepared with the skins on, creating a bit more chunkiness to the finished dish. There are recipes that prepare peeled potatoes for smashed potatoes, but these are less common than “skins on” recipes.

One distinct difference between smashed potatoes and mashed potatoes is the way in which the potatoes are smashed. Most recipes argue for hand mashing with either a fork or handheld masher. Mashed potatoes, on the other hand, are often mashed with a handheld masher and then whipped with an electric mixer. The purpose of the smashed potatoes is to avoid the whipped result, and also to shorten preparation time. If the cook decides to resort to the electric mixer, he or she has changed smashed potatoes into the mashed variety, regardless of whether the skins are on or off.

17 November 1859, Atlantic Journal (NJ), pg. 4:
Send it to table with a wall of smashed potatoes or rice round it.

27 December 1894, Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot, pg. 8, col. 5:
Oysters stuffed with turkey, cracker crumbs and bread mixed in with it, cranberry sauce, smashed potatoes with little pieces of butter melted over the top.

9 June 1898, Saginaw (MI) News, “An Admiral’s Work,” pg. 3, col. 3:
He eats ham, boiled onions, smashed potatoes, rice, canned corn, stewed tomatoes and sago pudding.

Google Books
August-September 1921, American Cookery, “A Cry for Good Cookery” by Ladd Plumley, pg. 101
A favorite method of cooking potatoes was to boil them until they were a soggy mess, drain off the water and mix the potatoes with lard. These were called “smashed potatoes.”

Google Books
Lord Riddell’s intimate diary of the peace conference and after: 1918-1923
By George Allardice Riddell
London: Gollancz
1933
Pg. 81:
When he (Clemenceau—ed.) first went to America he asked in a restaurant for “Smashed potatoes.”

Google Books
Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace
By Thomas Andrew Bailey
New York, NY: Macmillan Co.
1944
Pg. 154:
He (Clemenceau—ed.) used to amuse his hearers by telling how he had once ordered “smashed potatoes” in an American restaurant.

OCLC WorldCat record
Smashed potatoes; a kid’s-eye view of the kitchen.
Author: Jane G Martel
Publisher: Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1974.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Google Books
Maine Lingo:
Boiled owls, billdads, and wazzats

By John Gould and Lillian Ross
Camden, ME: Down East Magazine
1975
Pg. 262:
SMASHED
Used for mashed, as in smashed potatoes.

22 May 1975, Mt. Vernon (IL) Register-News, pg. 6B, col. 6:
What do you get when you blend spuds with vodka? Smashed potatoes, of course.

Google News Archive
26 October 1983, Spokane (WA) Chronicle, “In some cases, the company more memorable than the food” by Merle Ellis (San Francisco Chronicle), pg. 25, col. 2:
A large platter of fried chicken gizzards with mashed potatoes (at the time, I called them “smashed potatoes") at the Green Gables Restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa. As I recall, I was 5.

New York (NY) Times
Beach Idyll In Indonesia
By KAREN SWENSON; KAREN SWENSON is a poet and writer who lives in New York.
Published: October 25, 1987
(...)
At Aman’s Inn, Mama wraps hammerhead shark fillets in banana leaves and steams them in their own juices with onion and spices. She makes great ‘’smashed potatoes,’’ roughly mashed potatoes with garlic, as well as a curry sauce for lobster rich with coconut milk.

Google Books
Bistro Cooking
By Patricia Wells
New York, NY; Worman Publishing
1989
Pg. 112:
GALLETE LYONNAISE
Lyonnaise Potato Galette
The bistros of Lyons are a potato lover’s paradise. This version, typical of the simple potato and onion mixtures typically served with roast meats or steak, is quick and easy to prepare. I think if this dish as “smashed” potatoes, for that’s just what they are!
(Recipe follows—ed.)

New York (NY) Times
For Every Ingredient There Is a Season
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
Published: January 26, 1994
(...)
Smashed Potatoes, Celery Root and Roasted Garlic (Adapted from Ciao Europa)
Total time: 30 minutes
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound golden potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound celery root, peeled and diced (rutabaga can be used)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the top off the head of garlic, brush the top with oil and wrap in foil. Place in the oven, and roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and celery root and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Return the potatoes and celery root to the pot.

3. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves out of the head, and add to the pot. Smash the ingredients together with the back of a spoon or a potato masher until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat briefly and serve.

OCLC WorldCat record
Smashed potatoes and other Thanksgiving disasters
Author: Carol W Murphy
Publisher: Mahwah, N.J. : Rainbow Bridge, ©1995.
Edition/Format:  Book : Fiction : Juvenile audience : English

Google Books
Patricia Wells at Home in Provence:
Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France

By Patricia Wells and Robert Freson
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
1996
Pg. 136:
SMASHED POTATOES
After the fad of creamy mashed potatoes began to fade, Parisian palates moved on to what I call “smashed” potatoes and the French call pommes ecrasees.  Rather than reducing the potatoes to a puree, they are simply crushed with a fork and enriched with butter and oil. The dish shows up everywhere, from bistro tables to grand palaces, and plays a versatile role as a warming accompaniment to raost pork, chicken, lamb, or fish. It’s a method that flatters the fragrance and flavor of very nutty, fruity, earthy yellow-fleshed potatoes.

Google Books
Top Secret Restaurant Recipes:
Creating kitchen clones from America’s favorite restaurant chains

By Todd Wilbur
New York, NY: Plume
1997
Pg. 157:
Houlihan’s Smashed Potatoes
Serves 4 as a side dish

Here’s a great way to make mashed potatoes, Houlian’s style. The Smashed Potatoes at the restaurant chain are considered one of Houliahn’s specialty signature dishes. This a la carte dish is unique because of the added fresh onion, spices, and sour cream; and especially because of the finishing touch—some onion straws sprinkled on top. It’s important when making you own version that you not entirely mash the potatoes, but instead leave a few small potato chunks for texture. Once you make homemade mashed potatoes this way, you’ll never want to make them any other way.
(Recipe follows—ed.)

New York (NY) Times
Word for Word/’As the Millennium Nears . . .’
Folks Are Building a Bridge To the Rest of What They’re Saying

By TOM KUNTZ
Published: August 24, 1997
(...)
For ‘97, expect to see variations like crushed or smashed potatoes—really versions of roast potatoes that have been crisped and slightly flattened but not whipped into that smooth, butter-absorbing, garlic-enhanced form that will still fly out of the kitchen as the millennium approaches.
-- Boston Globe, Jan. 1, 1997

Google Books
Family Words:
The Dictionary for People Who Don’t Know a Frone from a Brinkle

By Paul Dickson
Washington, DC; Broadcast Interview Source, Inc.
1998
Pg. 131:
smashed potatoes = mashed potatoes

New York (NY) Times
Smashed, Not Mashed, Potatoes
By MOLLY O’NEILL
Published: January 27, 1999
SMASHED potatoes, as opposed to mashed potatoes, could almost be called a natural phenomenon. They appear to be hand-hewed and unprocessed, seemingly at odds with a technological age. Yet, smashed potatoes can also be viewed as a victory of the pro-lumpers over the anti-lumpers, a triumph of the slap-dash over the careful.

Smashing—roughly mushing a baked or boiled potato with a fork or wire masher—reverses this country’s 200-year trajectory toward fluffy, creamy potatoes. Smashing generally leaves potato skin, flakes and lumps intact and deploys olive oil or cooking juices as often as it does butter or cream.

St. Petersburg (FL) Times
Mashed potatoes with a twist
By J.M. HIRSCH, Associated Press
Published November 19, 2006
(...)
Manchego Smashed Potatoes 4 pounds baby red or baby Yukon Gold potatoes, large ones halved (peeled or not, to taste)
Salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk or cream
12 ounces manchego cheese, shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
- In a deep pot, cover the potatoes with water. Cover the pot and bring the potatoes to a boil. Uncover the pot, salt the water and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter, milk and cheese and smash to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 8 servings.
Source: "Every Day With Rachael Ray" magazine, November

Chowhound - General Chowhounding Topics
Mashed vs. smashed potatoes
Difference, or just marketing-speak?
By Ruth Lafler on Mar 08, 2009 03:13PM
(...)
“Mashed” potatoes are smoothly whipped with cream, butter, etc.
“Smashed” potatoes, popularized (but not invented by) by Rachael Ray, are more “rustic” or “textured” - with pieces of chunk potato as well as smooth bits. There’s still butter or whatever but again it’s not smoothly incorporated; there may be pieces of butter or dollops of sour cream.
By KiltedCook on Mar 08, 2009 03:23PM

(Trademark)
Word Mark SMASHED POTATOES
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 030. US 046. G & S: ready to eat food, namely prepared potatoes. FIRST USE: 19890308. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19890308
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74615132
Filing Date December 27, 1994
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) Gilbert/Robinson, Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE 47th and Main Streets Post Office Box 16000 Kansas City MISSOURI 64112
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record Malcolm A. Litman
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “POTATOES” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date December 27, 1995

(Trademark)
Word Mark SMASHED POTATOES
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 029. US 046. G & S: side dishes consisting primarily of processed potatoes for consumption on restaurant premises and off restaurant premises as a take-out food. FIRST USE: 19871116. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19871116
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74718716
Filing Date August 22, 1995
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) Woodroast Systems, Inc. CORPORATION MINNESOTA 10250 Valley View Road Suite 145 Eden Prairie MINNESOTA 55344
Attorney of Record Jo M. Fairbairn
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date December 31, 1997

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, December 28, 2010 • Permalink