Mashed potatoes are a "classic comfort food". They are usually served soft and warm. And they're high in carbohydrates. When people talk about "meat and potatoes", the potatoes are often baked or mashed.
Mashed potatoes can be one of the first "solid" foods that a small child can eat. So, it is often a familiar, comfortable dish. Sculpting mashed potatoes is also a classic way to "play" at the table. (In some settings, this is a frowned upon activity.) What are your favorite ways to eat potatoes? mashed potatoes?
To make mashed potatoes, you basically cook and then smush potatoes. Usually something is added to increase moisture: water, milk, butter, etc. Spices such as salt and pepper are common. Cooked onions or garlic are often mashed in with the potatoes. Some people leave the skins on and mash them.
In a fancy restaurant or for a more elegant dinner, the mashed potatoes may be sculpted or shaped before they are served. Bits of garlic, colorful red skins or sprigs of herbs, such as rosemary may be added.
Mashed potatoes are commonly served with butter or a brown gravy (usually meat and flour based).