The Masha (Lakeland, £34.99) is a hand blender-style rotor stick. Blunt vanes express ingredients through a mesh collar into smooth paste.
Can’t get better than a bangin’ mash.
University is a place of reinvention. I vividly remember drawing up a list of nicknames I wanted, which is not how nicknames work. It included such oddities as Lil’ Champ and Chili Dog and Chuckles (looking back, these are cries for help). None of them took off – instead, my housemates referred to me as King of Mash. Nothing to do with drugs; rather – and do let the full pity of this sink in – I was good with mashed potatoes. I’d whip up mash with horseradish, goat’s cheese or garlic. I once spent three hungover days in a chair eating a mound the size of a hippo’s cheek.
I know my mash. So I’m intrigued by this device, which lays claim to a new technique. “If starch grains are ruptured by aggressive blending they release amilose [sic], which imparts an unacceptable, glue-like texture,” advises the booklet. (Ignore the spelling mistake. Most marketing is waaay too cutesy. I find the word “unacceptable” refreshing here, not to mention the dry chemical chat.) Masha classes itself an extruder, rather than a cutting or crushing device, so it is kinder at a cellular level – a bit like the Dalai Lama (unlike the starch grains, that simile breaks down pretty quickly).
I try it on some boiled, floury potatoes. It promises to get results from any variety, which is intriguing, but who wants a waxy mash? And it does well, swirling the spuds into whorls and ridges, like the surface of a brain. The potato paste that seeps alarmingly through its pores is velvety smooth. It is nice to use – the handle has soft-touch housing, the well-sprung head detaches easily for rinsing. It is not necessarily better than a good ricer.
Masha (why is it spelt like that? Is it a lovelorn sister in a Chekhov drama? Or a WWE wrestler?) does have other tricks, though. I knocked up a smooth guacamole. It has an aerator blade for batters, egg whites and sponge mix. It can do baby food, if you’re into that. It’s really pretty good for mush; as for mash – well, not everything needs reinvention.
I don’t mean to monster Masha, but that really is an illiterate name.