Who needs boring spuds? Here are fresh takes on the indispensable Thanksgiving dish

Sage-Infused Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips
Sage adds an earthy flavor to these mashed potatoes, parsnips lend sweetness, and sour cream brings a bit of tang.

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Buttermilk
Roasted garlic, tangy buttermilk, and chicken stock pack a lot of flavor into these low-fat mashed potatoes.

Mashed Celery-Root Potatoes
We’ve left the skin on these potatoes for a rustic look and texture, but feel free to peel them if you prefer. The clean, bracing flavor comes from celery root ― the weird, hairy vegetable that baffles many a cook. Here, we just slice off the hairier end, peel and chop the rest of the root, and boil it with the potatoes.

Whether we’re making potatoes with enough flavor to stand on their own, or just looking for a vehicle for greater gravy consumption, our favorite tool for mashing potatoes is a ricer ―a contraption that looks like a giant garlic press.

Put cooked potatoes in it, press over a large bowl, and fluffy, no-lumps mashed potatoes come out. (An added benefit of a ricer: You can mash them unpeeled, because the skin stays behind.)

Old-fashioned mashers and even plain wooden spoons also work, although they require quite a bit more elbow grease, and only the most patient and attentive cooks can avoid lumps.

We know many of you will use an electric mixer, and that’s okay. Just be extremely careful not to overmix your potatoes; otherwise, they’ll become gluey, and no one will be thankful for that.

Editor’s note: Sunset food editor Margo True shares the secret to fluffy mashed potatoes:

1. Peel and cut your Idaho potatoes. Cover with water (add salt if you like) and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

2. Drain, and (here’s the key-to-fluffy-potatoes part) return potatoes to the pot and stir over low heat until they look VERY dry (it’s OK if they start to crumble). Dry potatoes make light, fluffy mashed.

3. Beat or mash, adding warm milk or cream, butter, and salt to taste. (You can also cook garlic in the milk for about 20 minutes or till tender, and add both the garlic and milk to the mashed.)

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