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Gadgets: Pump-Action Potato Smasher by Joseph Joseph

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[Photo: josephjoseph.com]

For years, my mom and I made our Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with two forks as our smashing tools. I always figured that the amount of work we put into them was what resulted in them being ridiculously delicious, but I now know otherwise. And the good news is that I've found the best masher to get the perfect taters in minutes flat—no elbow grease necessary.

The Joseph Joseph Pump-Action Potato Smasher ($15.95 at amazon.com) starts out by having an awesome name and the brand's signature cool aesthetic, which give it automatic kudos in my book. But it actually boasts a really innovative design that out-performs its rivals. The biggest difference is in how the thing works: Rather than a metal squiggle that attacks spuds by brute force, this one uses a clever spring and trap design instead. The round bottom functions as the trap, locking chunks in place and allowing the pump action to quickly and effectively smash the potatoes into smooth, smooth oblivion.

There are other benefits, too. I liked how little force the pump action required—it was actually fun to do—and the fact that it's made of plastic means no harm will come to my nice new stainless steel pots (call me paranoid). The only conceivable drawback is that you really won't burn any calories in the process, which in turn takes away my justification for double portions.

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